Category Archives: Oil and Gas Law

Texas Supreme Court: Duty of Executive Rights Holder to Non-Participating Royalty Owner

Recently, the Texas Supreme Court clarified the duty owed by an executive rights holder to a non-participating royalty owner when negotiating an oil and gas lease.  KCM Financial LLC v. Bradshaw is an important opinion as it makes clear what obligations the executive rights holder has, and does not have when negotiating and signing mineral leases.  [Read full opinion here.] Basic Legal Background Generally, if not severed, a mineral owner possesses certain rights as part of mineral ownership.  These rights include the executive right, which is the right to… Read More →

April 6, 2015 Weekly Round Up

Because of the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals opinion last week in TCEQ v. Texas Farm Bureau, the weekly round up blog for last Friday got pushed to today. Last weekend, I attended my first Texas & Southwest Cattle Raiser’s Conference in Ft. Worth.  I was honored to give three presentations on grazing leases and pipeline easements and had an absolute blast!  To those of you joining from the Convention, welcome! Here are some ag law stories in the news this week. * Texas Supreme Court Hears Chesapeake… Read More →

March 20, 2015 Weekly Round Up

Spring is in the air!  Hope you are all enjoying some warmer temperatures, and hopefully, some rain!  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. *Briscoe County Will Not Become Part of High Plains Water District.  Despite a TCEQ recommendation that the High Plains Water District annex Briscoe County under its jurisdiction, the District Board voted unanimously not to do so last week.  Numerous Briscoe County residents spoke against the annexation, claiming they were perfectly happy being unregulated by a groundwater conservation district…. Read More →

Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: Set Back Rules for Pipelines and Oil Rigs

Question:  Is there a rule requiring a certain setback distance between a home and an oil or gas well or pipeline? Answer:  There is no state-wide setback rule for oil and gas wells or pipelines in Texas.  The state agency charged with governing oil and gas production, the Texas Railroad Commission, has passed no such state-wide regulation.  According to the Texas Railroad Commission website, “The Railroad Commission does not regulate how close a gas or oil well can be drilled to a residential property.” Instead, the RRC has… Read More →

Surface Use Agreements: What They Are and How To Get One

As we have previously discussed, in Texas, the mineral estate is dominant over the surface estate.  This means that a mineral owner (or lessees, as the case frequently is) has the right to use as much of the surface estate as is reasonably necessary for the production of minerals like oil and gas without compensation to the surface owner.  One way for surface owners to protect themselves is by entering into a Surface Use Agreement. What They Are Initially, I want to note that the best way to… Read More →

Agriculutral Law: What To Watch in 2015

As everyone is recovering from the New Year celebrations and getting back to the grindstone, I thought it would be fun to highlight a few of the major ag law issues to watch in 2015. Water Disputes Unfortunately, this issue will likely top the list every year for the near future.  Across the country we are seeing more and more water-related disputes.  In addition to the issues outlined in my 2014 Year in Review post, there are two additional issues I think will be in the forefront this year. Water… Read More →

Multi-Million Dollar Settlements for New Mexico Royalty Owners

Two class action lawsuits have been settled in favor of New Mexico royalty and overriding royalty owners. Devon Energy Corporation and Burlington Resources have settled claims that they underpaid royalties in the San Juan Basin by improperly deducting costs of treating and transporting coalbed methane gas. In Davis v. Devon Energy Corp., New Mexico First Judicial District Court No. D-0101-CV-2003-01590, Devon settled the case for $27.75 million. In Ideal v. Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Company LP, New Mexico First Judicial District Court No. D-0101-CV-2003-02309, the defendants paid… Read More →

December 9, 2014 Weekly Round Up

Because I did not get the Weekly Round Up post up last Friday, I figured better late than never, so here is the first-ever Tuesday weekly round up of ag law stories in the news. * LCRA Seeks Approval to Cut Off Downstream Irrigation Releases for Fourth Year in a Row.  In a story that is unfortunately becoming all to common, the Lower Colorado River Authority voted 11-2 to seek permission from the TCEQ to curtail downstream releases from the Highland Lakes.  The curtailment would not just impact… Read More →

Case Analyzes “Operations” Language in Oil and Gas Lease

* Please remember to vote for the Texas Ag Law Blog in the “Niche” category of the ABA Top 100 Blawgs!  Click here between now and December 19!* A recent case from the Waco Court of Appeals, Rippy Interests, LLC v. Nash, illustrates an important issue to consider when negotiating oil and gas leases. [Read full opinion here.] Lease Background Nash owned mineral rights for 1,888 acres in Leon County.  He entered into a lease with Range Production, who later assigned the lease to Rippy Interests, LLC. The lease was for a primary… Read More →

Trespass of the Mineral Estate?

An interesting case between Lightning oil Company and Anadarko E&P Onshore, LLC is currently  making its way through the Texas judicial system.  The case raises the following question.  Where an oil and gas production company seeks to drill a  horizontal well through the mineral interest of another, in order to produce oil and gas from a lease held by the driller, does trespass occur? Facts The Briscoe Ranch sits just north of the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area (CWMA) in Dimmit County, Texas.  Lightning holds the mineral lease for the… Read More →