Category Archives: Oil and Gas Law

Breaking News: New York’s Highest Court Upholds Oil and Gas Production Ban

New York’s highest appellate court issued an important decision today related to oil and gas production and the authority of municipalities to ban production in their bounds.  This decision comes while a state-wide moratorium barring fracking in New York continues and has been in place since 2008. Background The combined cases involved legal challenges to oil and gas production bans by the Town of Dryden (located within the Marcellus Shale region) and the Town of Middlefield.  The Dryden ordinance prohibited all oil and gas exploration, extraction, and storage activities… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court: Implied Surface Use Includes All Pooled Tracts

*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court reversed both the Washington County trial court and First Circuit Court of Appeals (Houston) in Key Operating & Equipment, Inc. v. Hegar.  I previously blogged about the court of appeals opinion and the Supreme Court review of this case here. Background This case involved two neighboring tracts of land known as the Richardson tract and the Curbo tract.  Key Operating leased the mineral rights on the Richardson tract since 1987.  From 1994 to 2000,… Read More →

June 6, 2014 Weekly Round Up

*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* This week I was able to visit with the Taylor County Marketing Club about the current hot topics in agricultural law.  We talked about several pending Texas cases involving water law and oil and gas law, the GMO labeling debate going on across the nation, and the pending AQHA appeal in the cloning lawsuit.  They were a great group and I enjoyed the chance to chat with them about these important issues.  Thank you to Robert… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Considering Important Oil and Gas Case

*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* The Texas Supreme Court is currently considering Key Operating & Equipment Co. v. Hegar, a case that will have important implications for both the oil and gas industry and surface owners across Texas.  Oral argument was held in February and the case is now pending decision by the Court. Background This dispute involves two adjacent tracts of land in Washington County known as the Rosenbaum-Curbo tract and the Richardson tract.  Key operating began production on the… Read More →

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 →