Category Archives: Oil and Gas Law

Texas Supreme Court Addresses Postproduction Costs

A recent Texas Supreme Court case, BlueStone Natural Resources II, LLC v. Randle, addressed a dispute over postproduction cost allocation for royalties.  I thought this Opinion offered a good explanation of postproduction costs generally, and comparison of the two clauses at issue in the leases, which made it worth taking a look at on this blog.  [Read Opinion here.] Background In 2003, several mineral owners (“lessors”) executed oil and gas leases with Quicksilver Resources.  Each of the leases contain a 2-page Printed Lease and an attached Addendum.  The… Read More →

Case Addresses Mineral Reservation Language Dispute

The Austin Court of Appeals recently addressed the issue of mineral reservation in a deed in Ross v. Flower, offering important reminders for Texas landowners and property purchasers. Background This case revolves around the interpretation of a paragraph in a deed for 20-acres of land in Fayette County. In 1999, the Rosses owned the surface and mineral interests for the 20-acre tract at issue.  In April 1999, the Rosses executed a General Warranty Deed conveying the property to Richard & Patricia Church.  Specifically, the Deed stated that the… Read More →

Case Addresses Solar Lease, Mineral Owner, and the Accommodation Doctrine

The El Paso Court of Appeals addressed an interesting and important issue recently in Lyle v. Midway Solar.  How does Texas law apply when there is a potential conflict between the operation of a large scale solar facility and the ability of the mineral owner to extract oil or gas? Background This dispute involves a 315-acre tract of land in Pecos County. The Lyles own 27.5% of the mineral rights to this land by virtue of a 1948 deed.  There is no current mineral lease on the property, and the… Read More →

MT Supreme Court: Dinosaur Fossils Are Not Minerals

In an update to a story I included in the Weekly Round Up last Friday, the Montana Supreme Court has ruled on the question of whether dinosaur fossils are minerals under state law.  [Read Opinion here.] Background The case involves farm and ranch land in Montana.  The land was initially owned by the Seversons and for approximately 15 years, it was run as a partnership between the Seversons and the Murrays, who worked there as ranchers. In 2005, the Seversons severed the surface estate from the mineral estate. … Read More →

TX Supreme Court Addresses Duty of Executive Rights Holder

The Texas Supreme Court recently issued an opinion addressing the duty owed by an executive right holder to non-participating mineral owners.  This is an important issue for both mineral owners and executive right holders to understand and be aware of when considering lease offers. Factual Background Dora Jo Carter owned 1,082 acres in Frio County.  She and her two children also, collectively, owned 50% of the mineral estate. The other 50% mineral interest was owned by the Hindeses. In 2002,  Mrs. Carter sold the surface estate to Texas… Read More →

March 22, 2019 Weekly Round Up

We’ve reached the end of another week.  Happy Friday!  Welcome to those of you that are new readers and subscribers to the Texas Agriculture Law Blog. A quick reminder about our upcoming Ranchers Leasing Workshop events in Nacogdoches, Burnet, and Perryton.  These are great programs for anyone involved in an agricultural lease–grazing, haying, farming, hunting, livestock–as either a tenant or a landowner.  Registration is easy and can be done by clicking here or by calling Valerie at (979)845-2604.  For more information and to see our complete list of… Read More →

Court Rules for Oil Operator in Accommodation Doctrine Case

Last summer, a case from the El Paso Court of Appeals, Harrison v. Rosetta Resources Operating, raised interesting arguments regarding water use and the accommodation doctrine. Background The Harrison Trust owns 320 acres in Reeves County.  Mr. Harrison is the trustee of the Harrison Trust.  The minerals beneath the land are owned by the State of Texas. In 2009, Harrison executed an oil and gas lease on behalf of the State with Eagle Oil & Gas, as is allowed by the Natural Resources Code on certain lands.  Eventually, the… Read More →

Texas Mineral Owner’s Implied Right to Use the Surface

*Portions of this blog post were excerpted from the handbook Petroleum Production on Agricultural Lands in Texas: Managing Risks and Opportunities, available here.* One of the most surprising pieces of Texas oil and gas law may be the dominant estate rule.  What does this rule mean and how does it impact surface and mineral owners in the state? Severance of the Mineral and Surface Estates In Texas, and most other states, the ownership of the mineral estate can be separated (severed) from the surface estate.  Put another way, one… Read More →

October 6, 2017 Weekly Round Up

This week I traveled to Fredericksburg for the Bennett Trust Women’s Stewardship Conference and to Johnson City for the Pedernales Wildlife Management Co-Op Meeting.  This trip, I had a two-year old sidekick with me who thoroughly enjoyed the fun.  Welcome to those of you joining from these programs. Here are some of the ag law stories in the news. * Farm program payments under ARC/PLC are going out beginning this week.  Those of you enrolled in the ARC and PLC programs keep an eye on your mailboxes.  The… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Rules in Subsurface Trespass Case

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?  Since 2014, we have been following the Lightning Oil Company v. Anadarko case through various levels of the Texas court system, which involves this very question.  Last week, the Texas Supreme Court issued a decision upholding the lower court opinions in the case and making clear that in this situation, trespass does not… Read More →