We are reminded in Claybar v. Samson Exploration that a court will (if it’s doing its job) enforce an agreement according to what it actually says, not by that which one party or the other would have liked it to say or imagines that it said. Continue Reading An Indemnity Agreement Means What it Says
There are specific requirements for proving that an oil and gas lease has survived past its primary term. Fail to hit them all when the lease is challenged at the courthouse, wand disappointment will be order of the day.
The heart of the dispute in J&L Oil Company v. KM Oil Company was whether plaintiff J&L satisfied the requirements of a Pugh clause in a 1951 lease. J&L sued KM for impinging upon J&L’s lease on 55 acres in Caddo Parish, Louisiana. Summary judgment in favor of KM, the alleged impinger, was affirmed. Continue Reading Lack of Proof Dooms Pugh Clause Defense
Let’s get right to the takeaway: Despite the humble hourly rate operators are typically willing to fork over for title examination, the job isn’t easy and you’d better put your trust in a practitioner with expertise, patience, and an eye for detail.
It took a court of appeal two tries to get this one right, after being enlightened by an aggrieved party. These errors are typically discovered in the real life of a producer when an aggrieved royalty owner says you’ve overpaid somebody else. Let’s hope the well is still producing when they bring the matter to your attention. Continue Reading Mineral Title Examination – It’s Not Easy
Are you “woke”* vis-vis-vis global warming and the coming-any-day-now destruction of the coral reefs, the arctic ice pack, polar bears, coastlines, the flora, the fauna, you, me, and the entire natural world as we know it? Me neither. That’s because I elect to look past the first dozen or so results from a Google search of “global warming”, “climate change”, and related topics. Continue Reading There is Another Way to Report on Global Warming
Proving once again that gratitude is the rarest of human emotions, a contract between a landman and his client was deemed unenforceable, leaving the landman with nothing, even though he actually secured oil and gas leases for the client (at least he said that he did). In Moore v. Bearkat Energy Partners, LLC, independent landman Moore signed a contract with the purported agent of Lane. Lane would pay Moore “$600 per mineral acre for each and every lease [Lane] enter[ed] with [Moore’s] assistance.” Moore said he helped Lane secure numerous leases, but Lane refused to pay. Continue Reading Landman Defeated by the Statute of Frauds
Co-author Paul Yale
Issues surrounding the legality of allocation wells in Texas have been percolating for some time, and lately we’ve heard of potential litigation. So, what’s the fuss about? The results in Klotzman (a Texas Railroad Commission dispute) and Spartan et al v. EOG (a district court case) didn’t resolve the legal questions. Both settled before a ruling. Browning Oil Company v. Luecke provided theoretical underpinnings but didn’t go far enough.
Why does the controversy exist? Continue Reading Is the Allocation Well Debate About to Boil Over?
Chauvin v. Shell Oil Company et al is the pot full of legal unpleasantness that can be stirred up by landmen trying to buy easements, leases, and the like.
A number of plaintiffs – descendants of grantors of two parcels of land in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana – were contacted by pipeline companies seeking servitudes. Apparently believing that betting on litigation offered a better return than the trifecta at the Fairgrounds, the descendants sued Shell and several pipeline companies holding servitudes from Shell for trespass. In the end, the court denied the plaintiff’s claims; they couldn’t carry their burden to prove their ownership of the property. Continue Reading Trespass Plaintiff: First, Prove Your Ownership
Email is the way we communicate these days. Whether emails create a contract is important if you’re thinking nothing short of scribblings on a piece of old parchment could ever bind anybody or, to the contrary, your goal is to establish an enforceable agreement. Before hitting “send”, consider Bujnoch v. Copano. Questions of fact precluded a summary judgment denying an agreement. A jury will decide the question. Continue Reading Can Emails Establish an Easement in Texas?
Let’s take a look at what President Trump has done for the oil industry in his first year (This is not about decorum, dossiers, tweets, or Oprah’s inauguration.) As in the past, I refer to sources whose opinions and insights are more knowledgeable than mine.
No More “Sue and Settle” Continue Reading Trump and the Oil Patch One Year In
Gloria’s Ranch v. Tauren et al – the Louisiana lenders’ bad dream
Anyone seeking stability in the law governing E&P activities in Louisiana will view the lower court decision as a grave error that must be corrected. Virtually every mortgage provides safeguards to protect collateral and manage lenders’ risk. The court of appeal reasoned that because of those provisions, the lender controlled the ability of the borrower to execute a release of a mineral lease, resulting in solidary liability when the borrower-lessee failed to release its lease. Continue Reading An Oil and Gas Case to Expect From Louisiana, and Another From Texas