Archives: Exploration and Production

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Louisiana State and Federal Courts Split Over Parties Entitled to Reports Under La. R.S. 30:103.1

La. R.S. 30:103.1 requires operators or producers of oil and gas units created by the Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation to provide reports containing information related to well costs and production to owners of “unleased oil and gas interests” (referred to herein as “103.1 report(s)”). If an operator does not provide the information required under the … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Agrees to Review Three Oil and Gas Cases in 2016

On September 2, 2016, the Texas Supreme Court agreed to review three oil and gas cases involving issues pertinent to the industry and land and mineral owners. BP America Production Company v. Red Deer Resources, LLC In BP America Production Company v. Red Deer Resources, LLC, the lessee of a top lease, Red Deer, sued … Continue Reading

Offshore Companies Face Surge in BSEE Enforcement Actions and Penalties

In recent years, offshore companies have witnessed a marked uptick in the number of enforcement actions undertaken by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).[1]  Operators face more BSEE inspections, Incidents of Non-Compliance (INCs), and civil penalties than ever before.  Meanwhile, the average penalty amount has grown.  For example, in 2014 the agency imposed … Continue Reading

Louisiana Flooding – Legal Update

The Liskow & Lewis family stands by our friends and neighbors throughout the unprecedented flooding in our community. As we begin the long process of recovery, here is a brief legal update on the response of various courts and state agencies: State courts: Governor John Bel Edwards has issued an executive order which purports to suspend … Continue Reading

First Parish Coastal Zone Lawsuit to Proceed to Decision Falls for Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies

The first of 40 coastal permitting lawsuits to proceed to disposition has been dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. In a ruling released today, Judge Enright of the 24th JDC for Jefferson Parish dismissed The Parish of Jefferson v. Atlantic Richfield Company, finding that the statutory scheme at issue provided administrative channels to investigate and … Continue Reading

The Dusky Gopher Frog Causes Big Problems for Industrial and Commercial Development in Parts of St. Tammany Parish

In 2010, under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“the FWS”) designated 6,477 acres in Mississippi and Louisiana as “critical habitat” for the Rana sevosa or the dusky gopher frog.  This frog has historically lived in nine counties or parishes across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.  Since its 2001 designation … Continue Reading

BOEM Releases Long Awaited New Financial Assurance Notice to Lessees and Operators

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released its long awaited new Notice to Lessees and Operators (NTL) updating the procedures and criteria used to determine when and if additional supplemental financial assurance is required for an Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lease, pipeline right-of-way, or right-of-use and easement.  New BOEM NTL No. 2016-N01, dated July … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Rules Oil and Gas Producer Not Entitled to Sales Tax “Manufacturing Exemption”

On June 17, 2016, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that an oil and gas producer (“Southwest”) was not entitled to a statutory exemption from sales taxes on its purchases of casing, tubing and pumps used in the production of oil and gas (the “Equipment”). At issue in Southwest Royalties, Inc. v. Hegar was whether the … Continue Reading

Amendment to Louisiana’s Risk Fee Statute That Allows For Notices After Spudding Is Awaiting Governor’s Signature

Effective upon signature of the Governor, the Louisiana Legislature will have amended the Risk Fee Statute, La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 30:10, which governs unit operations in the absence of a joint operating agreement.  The amendment is contained in Senate Bill No. 388, and would make the changes summarized below. Notices Allowed After Spudding Under … Continue Reading

Louisiana First Circuit Finds Appellate Jurisdiction Lacking, Declines to Address Merits of Appeal Involving Claims Related to Deepwater Horizon Response Operations

Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal again finds that it lacked jurisdiction over an appeal taken from a partial judgment that was not designated as final pursuant to Article 1915(B) of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure             In Constantin Land Trust v. BP America Prod. Co., et al., the Louisiana First Circuit Court of … Continue Reading

Regulating the Regulators: Supreme Court Allows Judicial Review of Clean Water Act Determinations

The United States Supreme Court recently addressed whether the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ determination that wetlands are “waters of the United States” constitutes a final agency action that is subject to judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc., 15-290, 2016 WL 3041052 (U.S. … Continue Reading

New Judge, Same Result – $81 Million CWA Civil Penalty Appealed

U.S. District Court Judge Dee Drell (Western District, LA) recently denied a motion to alter or amend the Court’s judgment against CITGO Petroleum Corp.– allowing an $81 million judgment against the oil company to stand. The judgment is the latest in a suit the EPA filed against CITGO under the Clean Water Act for a … Continue Reading

Forum Shopping Curtailed: Venue Limited to Parish Where Drilling Rig Was Lost

In a May 4, 2016 opinion, Louisiana’s Third Circuit Court of Appeal made clear that venue was not proper in Concordia Parish—where plaintiff filed suit for damages resulting from the loss of its drilling rig in LaSalle Parish—because:  (1) the tortious conduct allegedly occurred and damages from the loss of the drilling rig were sustained … Continue Reading

Fracking Scores with Two Colorado Supreme Court Opinions

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a hotly debated topic in many states.  In New York and Pennsylvania, anti-fracking groups have obtained a statewide ban on fracking and the allowance of local authority to regulate fracking, respectively.  Texas, however, has enacted a state law expressly preempting local authority over a number of drilling activities.  In March … Continue Reading

Processor Required to Account For Diverted Volumes Used for Gas Lift

Generally, oil and gas production facilities have accounted for volume losses under the concept of “Fuel, Flare & Losses.” In a recent case, the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal held that processors must also account for gas volume diverted to gas lift operations. In Red Willow Offshore, LLC v. Palm Energy Offshore, LLC, the … Continue Reading

Failure to Timely Pay Texas Ad Valorem Taxes: Reminders for Taxpayers and Secured Lenders

The extended downturn in the oilfield economy is showing up in some taxpayers’ inability to pay their Texas real property and personal property ad valorem taxes when those taxes become due.  This note reminds taxpayers what happens when the ad valorem taxes are not timely paid.  It also reminds lenders with security interests in real … Continue Reading

Production in Paying Quantities: Second Circuit Holds Lower Courts Must Consider All Relevant Factors, Not Just Profit

Since this blog’s post on production in paying quantities on January 26, 2016, the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal rendered its latest decision on the subject in Middleton v. EP Energy E&P Co., L.P., 50,300-CA (La. App. 2d Cir. 2/3/16).  While not particularly groundbreaking, Middleton does provide further guidance to mineral lessees and litigators … Continue Reading

Production in Paying Quantities: Maintaining Mineral Leases Beyond Their Primary Terms with Production of Oil or Gas

The sharp decline in oil prices over the past year and a half has had a significant impact on operators and mineral lessees in Louisiana and in other oil-producing states.  Mineral lessees may be particularly concerned with whether recent production levels have maintained their leases beyond their primary terms. In Louisiana, as in most jurisdictions, … Continue Reading

Appellate Review of Downhole Cases: The Supreme Court Repairs the Third Circuit’s Broken Manifest Error Standard in Hayes Fund for the First United Methodist Church of Welsh, LLC v. Kerr-McGee Rocky Mt., LLC, 149 So. 3d 280 (La. App. 3 Cir. 10/01/14)

The Louisiana Supreme Court recently issued a decision in a downhole damages case, reversing the Third Circuit’s misguided application of the manifest error standard of review. Hayes Fund for the First United Methodist Church of Welsh, LLC v. Kerr-McGee Rocky Mt., LLC, No. 2014-C-2592, 2015 La. LEXIS 2530 (La. 2015). The dispute arose out of … Continue Reading

Texas Appeals Court Rules Assignee Retains All Acreage Covered by Assignment Under Retained-Acreage Clause

In yet another “retained-acreage” dispute, the Amarillo Court of Appeals recently ruled that an assignee was entitled to retain all acreage covered by the assignment of four leases, where the assignment’s retained-acreage clause invoked the maximum acreage prescribed by the applicable field rules governing proration units, and, in the absence of any such field rules, … Continue Reading

U.S. Fifth Circuit Limits Vessels’ Obligations Under Louisiana One-Call Reporting

A panel of the United States Fifth Circuit consisting of Chief Judge Stewart and Judges Jolly and Graves recently issued a per curiam opinion regarding the effect of the Louisiana Underground Utilities and Facilities Protection Law (the “Louisiana One-Call Statute”). Plains Pipeline, L.P. et al. v. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., et al., No. … Continue Reading

Texas Court of Appeals Rules on Permission Needed for Off-Lease Horizontal Drilling

The Fourth Court of Appeals recently held that surface owners control the matrix of the underlying earth; thus, a surface owner can give permission to drill through the subsurface to an adjacent lease. In Lightning Oil Co. v. Anadarko E&P Onshore, No. 04-14-00903-CV, 2014 Tex. App. Lexis 8673 (Aug. 19, 2015), Anadarko leased the mineral … Continue Reading

Texas Court Rules Lease’s Retained Acreage Clause Incorporates Drilling Unit Size of Statewide Density Rule 38, ConocoPhillips Must Release 15,351 Acres to Lessor

A Texas appeals court recently ruled in ConocoPhillips Company v. Vaquillas Unproven Minerals, Ltd. that a lease’s retained acreage clause invoked the Texas Railroad Commission’s field spacing rule as well as the statewide drilling unit rule, Rule 38, which operated to reduce the acreage the lessee was permitted to retain under the lease from 640 … Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Texas Clarifies How to Prove Lost Value

By Andrew Wooley On May 8, 2015, the Supreme Court of Texas held in Phillips v. Carlton Energy Group, LLC[1]/ that an expert witness’s pre-suit evaluations of a coal bed methane concession in Bulgaria and his and another expert’s opinion testimony at trial were too speculative to support a jury’s damage finding for tortious interference related … Continue Reading
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