Category Archives: Oil and Gas Law

Railroad Commission Sides with Oil Company Against Groundwater Conservation District

*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* Last week, the Texas Railroad Commission heard an important dispute regarding whether local groundwater conservation districts have the right to protest disposal well permits.  Background In order to drill a disposal well, a company must obtain a permit from the Railroad Commission of Texas.  Frequently, local Groundwater Conservation Districts challenge these permits, citing concerns about contamination of groundwater.  This is particularly true in the Eagle Ford Shale region, where some GCDs challenge every disposal well petition in their area seeking to… Read More →

May 23, 2014 Weekly Round Up

*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* Last week, I spoke to a large group of West Texas ranchers at the 5th Annual NRCS Rancher’s Workshop in Mertzon about key oil and gas and pipeline easement concepts for landowners.  It was a great program and I appreciate Jaime Tankersley inviting me to participate!  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week.  Welcome to those of you joining from that presentation. *  TCEQ Proposal Could Further Limit Water For Rice… Read More →

San Antonio Court of Appeals Analyzes Shut In Royalty Clause

*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* The San Antonio Court of Appeals issued an opinion yesterday addressing the scope and meaning of a shut-in royalty clause contained in an oil and gas lease.  The case, PNP Petroleum I, LP v. Taylor, provides a good illustration of how shut-in royalty clauses work and how modifying just two words can significantly change the meaning of an oil and gas lease.  [Review opinion here.] Background On June 1, 2009, Ms. Taylor and Ms. Herbst (“the mineral… Read More →

May 16, 2014 Weekly Round Up

Last week I spoke to a group of landowners at the Western Navarro Bobwhite Recovery Initiative Spring Meeting in Blooming Grove.  Blake Alldredge planned a great meeting at a wonderful location and I enjoyed the opportunity to attend.  On Tuesday, I was in Simonton to present on leasing issues at the Upper Gulf Coast Ranch Exposition.  I appreciate all of the hard work that Greg Kaase put in to get this program put together and enjoyed the chance to visit with the producers.  To those of you joining from these presentations,… Read More →

Cases Illustrate Care Needed in Reserving Mineral Rights

*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* Two recent Texas appellate court decisions illustrate the level of care required when reserving mineral rights during a property sale.   Cade v. Cosgrove In September 2006, the Cades and Cosgroves entered into a contract by which the Cades agreed to sell property in Arlington, Texas, to the Cosgroves.  At the time of the sale, the mineral rights had been leased to an oil production company.  The parties’ sales contract stated clearly that the Cades were to reserve… Read More →

Texas Jury Awards $3 Million to Landowners

A recent Texas jury verdict has received national attention.  Last week, a 6-person Dallas County jury awarded $2.9 million to landowners who claim injuries from drilling and production of natural gas in the Barnett Shale.  The case, Parr v. Aruba Petroleum, is reported to be the first verdict of its kind in the United States. The plaintiffs owned 40 acres of land near Decatur, Texas.  Aruba Petroleum, an oil and gas production company, drilled 22 wells within two miles of the plaintiffs’ property.  Plaintiffs claim that the production caused a… Read More →

April 18, 2014 Weekly Round Up

*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* This week I attended the 2014 Texas Water Conference in Dallas.  Amber Miller, an attorney from Lubbock, and I spoke to a large group of folks on an important Texas water issue:  Where do water wells drilled for use in the fracking process fit under the Texas exempt well statute.  I’ll have a blog post up explaining this issue and why it is important for Texans in the near future.  For those of you joining the… Read More →

April 11, 2014 Weekly Round Up

*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* I hope everyone had a fantastic week and has fun plans for the weekend!  This week I traveled out to Brownwood, Texas on Tuesday to give a presentation on agricultural leases, eminent domain, and pipeline easements.  A big thank you to Brown County Extension Agent Scott Anderson for putting this program together.  I enjoyed the chance to visit with several local landowners during and after the program, so welcome to those of you joining us from Brown… Read More →

Court of Appeals Decision Illustrates Importance of Royalty Language

**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.** Chesapeake Exploration, L.L.C. v. Hyder, decided by the San Antonio Court of Appeals last week, highlights the importance of royalty language in an oil and gas lease.  [Read full opinion here.] Background The lawsuit was filed by a group of royalty and overriding royalty holders who were party to a mineral lease with Chesapeake.  These royalty and overriding royalty owners alleged that Chesapeake breached the lease terms by impermissibly charging certain costs to royalty owners. The lease at issue was… Read More →

February 2014 Weekly Round Up

*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* As you may have noticed, weekly round ups have been missing for the past couple of weeks.  I hope to continue the weekly updates of ag law news, and here is a list of major ag law stories that made the news in the month of February. *  Denton Residents Seek Signatures for Fracking Ban.  Citizens of Denton, Texas, seek to become the first city in the state to ban fracking within its bounds.  The Denton Drilling Awareness… Read More →