Today is a two-fer. The questions: When does the “merger doctrine” not work in Texas, and how do courts treat technological developments created after a contract becomes effective?

In Murphy Land Group LLC v. Atmos Energy Corporation, Atmos constructed and operated pipelines under three easements from the ‘50’s and ‘60’s and the parties had a 2012 Roadway Lease granting Atmos a 40 foot roadway lease, which expired under his own terms in 2015.

The merger doctrine Continue Reading Smart Pig Technology … and the Texas Merger Doctrine

Co-author Niloufar Hafizi

As mentioned last week, the 86th Legislature amended the Texas Citizens Participation Act, Texas’ Anti-SLAPP law and defendants’ go-to weapon of destruction in a diverse range of cases.

The TCPA was intended to prevent harassing lawsuits by plaintiffs seeking to quell constitutionally protected activity, in particular the exercise of free speech, the right to association, and the right to petition.but has been much-criticized for being overly broad and subject to abuse and misuse. The old TCPA was frequently applied in oil and gas litigation, which is why we are benefiting you with our observations.

Continue Reading The TCPA Revisions Are Good for (Not Only) the Oil Business

Co-author Nilofaur Hafizi

The answer depends on what part of “the oil business” you care about. The 86th Legislature produced a few, but not many, changes in laws affecting the business, (most going into effect on September 1). Here are some that passed and some that failed:

WINNERS Continue Reading Was the 86th Texas Legislature Good to the Oil Business?

Just because anthropogenic climate change is a legitimate concern doesn’t mean that the most radical pronouncements from the idealogues aren’t fair game for criticism.

Not an idealogue, Bjorn  Lomborg, thinks we should worry about it  … a little bit. That caution has earned him derision as a skeptic or worse, a denier merely because he believes the “threat” is overstated and the proposed cures are needless and far more expensive than the disease.

Now for the vote-trolling presidential aspirants.

How many trillions for the Green Nude Eel?

Uncle Joe Biden opens with an unmuscular $1.7 Trillion and, in honor of his past, is accused of stealing ideas from the GND.  He sweetens the pot by refusing to take money from fossil fuel interests. Continue Reading What’s the Bidding on the Green New Deal?

Did the lessor’s deposit of royalty checks for production from a pooled unit that she contends was improper ratify the improper pooling? In Strickhausen v. Petrohawk et al, a jury will have to sort out the answer. Her case will be aided by exculpatory language in her oil and gas lease and her complaints from the beginning that her lease was improperly pooled.

 

The “Future Documents” clause and other facts

 

Strickhausen’s lease on 50 percent of the minerals on land in LaSalle County, Texas, prohibited pooling without her express written consent. An unusual “Future Documents” provision said (to paraphrase): If the lessee requires her to execute any document, such as a division order, such execution does not constitute waiver, acceptance, ratification, reviver, or adoption or waiver of any claim or demand, unless the document expressly states that as its purpose. Continue Reading Lessor, Should You Cash That Royalty Check?

Co-author Alexis Foster

Thanks to the power of the trucking lobby, the prevailing policy on the question of who wins and who loses if a carrier of goods goes unpaid favors the carrier over the broker, shipper, consignor and consignee. The rationale is that allowing shippers the benefit of carriage of goods without compensating the carrier would eventually cripple the shipping industry and the economy. Thus, the carrier will be paid, irrespective of the carrier’s failure to collect from the shipper or consignee or payment by one of the other parties to another.

The Bill of Lading Continue Reading Operator: How Would You Like to Pay Twice For That Pipe Delivery?

Welcome to today’s grab-bag of unrelated topics.

The climate avengers are clever in the way they demonize the industry. They give zero credit for technological advancement. Truth is, the industry’s use of technology is constantly evolving, resulting in improved performance and, not secondarily, lessened environmental impact from operations.

One example: Scientists from The Ohio State University are working on a project to convert fossil fuels and biomass into useful products, including electricity, without emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The papers were published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science. Continue Reading Oil Field Technology … and a Texas Bill Aimed at Royalty Owners

Confess … Confess!

When  you prepare, review and/or sign settlement agreements you sometimes pay less attention than you should to the details of those “standard” releases! Acme Energy Services, d/b/a Big Dog Drilling v. Staley et al. says, Beware the “boilerplate”; before signing consider what you are actually trying to accomplish. Continue Reading Broad Settlement Discharges Mineral Liens