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Attorney General Finds Governor’s Contract for Legal Services Not Approvable, Unacceptable, Illegal, and Unconstitutional

The dispute between Governor John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry over the retention of several private attorneys to represent the State of Louisiana, through the Department of Natural Resources (“LDNR”) in coastal loss litigation has taken a new twist.  These lawsuits were filed by several parish governments alleging dozens of oil and gas … 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

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

SAFE PIPES Act: 2016 Legislation Affecting PHMSA

President Obama signed the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act or the SAFE PIPES Act into law on June 22, 2016.  The Safe Pipes Act reauthorizes the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) through 2019 as well as its associated programs, including the one-call notification program, the pipeline integrity program, and … 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

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

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

New Developments in the Determination of the Texas Franchise Tax Liability

The Texas Franchise Tax is imposed on taxable entities that do business in Texas or that are chartered or organized in the state.  Taxpayers subject to the Texas Franchise Tax may compute their tax liabilities under several alternative methods to determine which one results in the lowest amount of tax due. One such method is … Continue Reading

Clean Power Plan: The Legal Battle Continues

The group of petitioners challenging the EPA rules imposing strict limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants filed its opening briefs on Friday, February 19.  The lawsuit, West Virginia v. EPA (D.C. Cir. No. 15-1363) is unusual because of its sheer volume.  Petitioners include thirty States, State agencies, and local government entities and … 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

The Fifth Circuit Further Clarifies Service Contract and Insurance Interplay Under Texas Law

Ironshore Specialty Insurance Co. v. Aspen Underwriting Ltd. et al., No. 13-51027 (5th Cir. June 10, 2015) In March 2013, the federal Fifth Circuit ruled in the Deepwater Horizon litigation, under Texas law, that the scope of additional insured coverage was to be determined based only upon the four corners of the policy and that … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Holds Producer Not Required to Share in Natural Gas Pipeline Compression Costs

In Kachina Pipeline Company, Inc. v. Lillis, No. 13-0596, the Supreme Court of Texas interpreted a natural gas-purchase contract and held that a producer was not required to share in the costs of compression, even though that compression helped yield a higher re-sale price. Whether this decision narrowly reflects the language of one specific contract … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Says You Can’t Disclaim Your Heritage, But Maybe You Can Ignore It

Like the final season of ABC’s hit series Lost, the Texas Supreme Court’s opinion in Chesapeake Exploration, L.L.C. v. Hyder, No. 14-0302, was highly anticipated, but left many of us scratching our heads.  The 5-4 decision, authored by Justice Hecht, is the latest in a series of cases from high courts across the country addressing … Continue Reading

Louisiana Supreme Court Denies Plaintiff’s Writ Application in a Move That Will Impact Oil & Gas Legacy Cases

By: Joe Norman, Kelly Becker, James Lapeze, and Kathryn Gonski Recently the Louisiana Supreme Court handed down a ruling that has significant implications on the oil and gas industry in the state. The Court denied the Plaintiff-landowner’s writ application which sought review of a Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal opinion that affirmed dismissal of the landowner’s claims … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Grants Motions to Dismiss Terrebonne Assessor’s Ad Valorem Tax Suits

By Kelly Becker Federal Judge Ginger Berrigan issued a comprehensive Order and Reasons addressing and granting a series of motions to dismiss filed by oil and gas company defendants, and individual executive officer defendants, all of which were pending in the consolidated federal court Bonvillain Terrebonne Parish ad valorem tax suits. The Court gave Assessor … Continue Reading

Courts as Battlefields in Climate Fights

By Elisabeth Lorio Baer Kivalina, Alaska, an Inupiat Eskimo village of 400 inhabitants perched on a barrier island north of the Arctic Circle, is bringing suit against two dozen fuel and utility companies, including ExxonMobil and Shell Oil, accusing them of helping to cause the climate change that it alleges is accelerating the island’s erosion. … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Considers Gas Price Manipulation Allegations

By Michael A. Mahone, Jr. In U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Dizona, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently considered allegations by the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission that a natural gas trader had attempted to manipulate the price of natural gas by knowingly delivering false and inaccurate price … Continue Reading

Caddo Parish Commissioners Approve Ordinances Affecting Oil and Gas Operations

By Matthew Simone After seven months of discussion and postponement, Caddo Parish Commissioners approved new regulations affecting oil and gas operations. These regulations involve three directives. First, loud operations within five hundred feet of hospitals, residences, religious, commercial, or public buildings in urban areas, may only take place Monday through Saturday between 8 A.M. and … Continue Reading
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