Category Archives: Oil and Gas Law

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 →

Texas Supreme Court Holds RRC Does Not Have Exclusive Jurisdiction Over Contamination Claims

The Texas Supreme Court issued an important ruling a couple of weeks ago in Forest Oil Corp. v. El Rucio Land and Cattle Company.  [Read full opinion here.]  This case addresses important issues regarding a landowner’s right to sue an oil and gas company for contamination on his or her property and offers a good reminder that parties agreeing to arbitration need to carefully consider and understand what rights they give up in making that agreement. Background James McAllen owns the McAllen Ranch, consisting of over 27,000 acres.  The… Read More →

February 3, 2017 Weekly Round Up

I’m not quite sure how we are already a month into 2017, but here we are.  In the last couple of weeks I have traveled to speak at Extension meetings in Dumas and Lubbock.  Welcome to those of you joining from those meetings! Here are some of the ag law stories in the news. *10 Texas oil and gas cases to watch.  Chris Halgren compiled a list of 10 Texas Supreme Court cases dealing with oil and gas law worth watching in 2017.  His post provides a short… Read More →

October 14, 2016 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  We’re almost halfway through October…not sure where the time goes.  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. *Deadline coming soon for Pasture, Range, and Forage insurance.  November 15 is the deadline to sign up for Pasture, Range and Forage (“PRF” also commonly called “rainfall”) insurance.  This insurance is essentially a way for farmers and ranchers to insure a certain amount of rainfall and to recover an indemnity payment if actual rainfall in their area fall below that amount.  Land eligible is… Read More →