Louisiana Oil & Gas Law

In Litel Explorations, LLC v. Aegis Development Co., LLC, 21-0741 (La. App. 3 Cir. 4/6/22), –So. 3d–, the Louisiana Third Circuit denied the LDNR’s claims for recovery of over 6.3 million dollars in emergency costs from prior operators of an orphaned well. The Court held that, when the LDNR spends monies from the Oilfield

Congress has dedicated $4.7 billion to orphan well plugging, remediation, and restoration activities nationwide through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“IIJA”). A substantial portion of this money will be apportioned to the various states based on each state’s capacity and ability to effectively utilize the funds to plug orphan wells. Louisiana Senate Bills 23

For nearly three years, unit operators in Louisiana have waited to see whether the Western District of Louisiana would change course or double down on its March 2019 decision in Johnson v. Chesapeake. In the original Johnson decision, the district court sent shockwaves across the oil and gas industry in Louisiana by finding that post-production costs were not properly deductible against proceeds owed to unleased mineral owners. In the wake of that decision, at least two putative class actions were filed against the largest producers in the Haynesville Shale, and operators have been flooded with demands and suits from unleased owners who relied on Johnson to contest the validity of post-production cost decisions from unleased interests.
Continue Reading Long-Awaited Victory on the Proper Deductibility of Post-Production Costs from Unleased Mineral Owners – The Western District of Louisiana Reverses Course in Johnson v. Chesapeake and Self v. BPX

Carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) projects involve various legal issues. Like traditional exploration and development, CCUS projects require the operator to secure both the necessary private property rights from landowners as well as regulatory approval from the appropriate administrative agency in order to proceed. This article focuses on the latter.

Regulatory approval for CCUS

Louisiana Revised Statutes 30:103.1 et seq. have been heavily litigated in recent years, but there are only a handful of reported decisions interpreting these statutes. Many of these decisions involve whether a party complied with the strict notice requirements contained in the statutes. B.A. Kelly Land Company, L.L.C. v. Aethon Energy Operating, L.L.C., 25

In Mary v. QEP Energy Company, the U.S. Fifth Circuit held that a landowner is not entitled to a pipeline company’s profits as a consequence of a portion of a pipeline being located partially outside of a servitude. The Fifth Circuit concluded that a landowner can only recover the additional profits earned by defendant

The subsequent purchaser doctrine has been litigated extensively in Louisiana legacy cases involving claims for oilfield remediation.  The doctrine provides that a current landowner has no standing to bring a lawsuit for property damage that occurred prior to its acquisition absent a valid assignment from the prior landowner of the personal right to sue.  However, until now, no appellate court had addressed whether the doctrine barred a claim brought by a closely held or family-owned company who acquired the property in an intra-family transfer.  In Louisiana Wetlands, LLC v. Energen Resources Corporation, 2021-0290 (La. App. 1 Cir. 10/4/21), 2021 WL 4548529, —So. 3d—, the Louisiana First Circuit answered this question in the affirmative, holding that the subsequent purchaser doctrine applies to property transfers from family members to a company which they also own.
Continue Reading Louisiana First Circuit Applies Subsequent Purchaser Doctrine to Property Transfer Involving Closely Held LLC

In Lexington Land Development, L.L.C. v. Chevron Pipelines Company, et al., 2020-0622 (La. App. 1 Cir. 5/25/21), 2021 WL 2102932, —So. 3d—, the Louisiana First Circuit recently reaffirmed well-settled principles regarding prescription and the subsequent purchaser doctrine in Louisiana legacy cases.
Continue Reading Louisiana First Circuit Reaffirms Prescription and Subsequent Purchaser Principles

In recent years, there has been an increase in litigation relating to the unleased owner reporting requirements contained in La. R.S. 30:103.1 and the penalty imposed in La. R.S. 30:103.2.  There are few cases interpreting these statutes. However, the existing authority recognizes that even if an operator fails to comply with such reporting requirements, an unleased owner must provide sufficient notice under La. R.S. 30:103.1 and 103.2 before the statutory penalty may be imposed. The recent non-final interlocutory ruling in Limekiln Development, Inc. v. XTO Energy, Inc.,[1] provides yet another data point in an otherwise barren area of Louisiana law about the notices required under this statutory scheme in order to properly place operators on notice and to potentially impose the penalty of La. R.S. 30:103.2.
Continue Reading United States Western District of Louisiana Issues Opinion on Notice Required Under La. R.S. 30:103.1 and 103.2 to State a Plausible Claim for Relief

On April 19, the United States Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) released a report (the “Report”) in response to a request from the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources regarding the oversight and decommissioning of pipelines in federal waters, which are mainly located within the Gulf of Mexico.  The Report concluded that the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”) lacks a robust oversight process (1) for ensuring the integrity of active offshore oil and gas pipelines and (2) to address the environmental risks posed by decommissioning and abandoning pipelines on the seafloor.  The GAO recommended that BSEE take actions to further develop, finalize, and implement updated pipeline regulations to address limitations in its ability to (1) ensure active pipeline integrity and (2) address safety and environmental risks associated with pipeline decommissioning and abandonment.
Continue Reading Federal Agency Recommends Updated Regulations for Pipeline Monitoring, Decommissioning, and Abandonment