Archives: Oil & Gas Contracts

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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

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

“Production in Paying Quantities”: Louisiana Appellate Court Decides When and What Should be Considered in Determination

The Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal, in Middleton, et al. v. EP Energy E&P Company, L.P., et al., concluded that, in considering whether mineral leases terminated for failure to produce in paying quantities, a fact finder may consider periods of production years prior to filing suit, but must consider all factors which would influence … 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

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

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

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

Texas Supreme Court Holds JOA Exculpatory Clause Applicable to All Activities of Operator

By Jana Grauberger The Texas Supreme Court distinguished several Texas appellate court decisions and held the exculpatory clause in a joint operating agreement (“JOA”) applicable not just to operational activities undertaken by the operator, but to all activities of the operator under the JOA. Reeder v. Wood County Energy, LLC, No. 10-0887, slip op. (Tex. Aug. … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit holds purchase and sales agreement complies with Statute of Frauds

By Joanna Nelson:  Preston Exploration Co., L.P. v. GSF, L.L.C., Cause No. 10-20599, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 1873 (5th Cir. Tex. Feb. 1, 2012)   The Fifth Circuit recently vacated a judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, holding that the lower court had improperly conflated “two distinct principles – … Continue Reading

Texas Court Upholds Lease Cancellation for Failure to Pay Shut-In Payments To Proper Party

By Kevin Connolly: In Nitschke v. Circle Ridge Production, Inc., No. 12-09-00150CV, _____ S.W.3d ____ (Tex. App.—Tyler 5/5/2010), the Tyler Court of Appeals upheld a trial court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law with respect to the termination of an oil and gas lease for failure to pay shut-in royalty payments to the proper party.   … Continue Reading

U.S. Fifth Circuit Finds Contractual Claim Under JOA Not Impermissible “Collateral Attack”

By Robert L. Theriot In EOG Resources Inc. v. Chesapeake Energy Corp., No. 09-30362, __ F.3d __ (5th Cir. 4/29/10), the Fifth Circuit reinstated EOG’s contractual claim against Chesapeake under the parties’ joint operating agreement (JOA).  EOG claimed that Chesapeake had unilaterally drilled three wells in the parties’ pooled mineral leases in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, without first … Continue Reading

Texas Court Upholds Temporary Injunction, Finds Cash in Lieu of Bond Meets Statutory Requirements

By Marie Carlisle: The principle issue addressed in Adobe Oilfield Services v. Trilogy Operating, Inc., No. 11-09-00162-CV (Tex. App.—Eastland January 29, 2010), involves the granting of a temporary injunction to prevent the filing of liens against oil wells. Trilogy entered into contracts with Adobe to drill six wells. Trilogy paid Adobe’s invoices for the first five wells, … Continue Reading

Federal Court Remands Mineral Lease Dispute for Lack of Evidence of Amount in Controversy

By Emma J. Hinnigan In Sullivan v. Chesapeake Louisiana, L.P., 09-0579, 2009 WL 3735798 (W.D. La. Nov. 6, 2009), the Western District of Louisiana remanded a case seeking rescission of a mineral lease back to state court after the defendant failed to provide proof of the amount in controversy, namely the total value of the … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit remands case regarding lessee’s breach of a settlement agreement

By Jessica Gladney The Fifth Circuit recently reversed the district court’s grant of partial summary judgment in Dore Energy Corp. v. Prospective Investment & Trading Co. Ltd., No. 08-30186 (5th Cir. 5/28/09). The dispute in Dore centers on the interpretation of a 2002 settlement agreement between the parties to certain mineral leases in Cameron Parish. … Continue Reading

A premises owner can still be a statutory employer in Texas, at least for now

 By Andrew Wooley: The Supreme Court of Texas issued a decision on rehearing in Entergy Gulf States, Inc. v. Summers April 3, 2009. The court’s original unanimous decision in August 2007 that a Texas premises owner can be a statutory employer for workers’ compensation purposes produced a great deal of political heat and a flurry of … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Decides Miesch Case

By Everard Marseglia: Last Friday, the Supreme Court of Texas issued decisions in two companion cases, No. 05-1076; Exxon Corp., et al. v. Emerald Oil & Gas Co., et al. (“Miesch”), and No. 05-0729; Exxon Corp., et al. v. Emerald Oil & Gas Co. (“Emerald”). Butch Marseglia, counsel in Liskow & Lewis’s Houston office, submitted … Continue Reading

Texas Court of Appeals Affirms Lease Termination and Rejects Summary Judgment on Adverse Possession Claim

By Marie Carlisle In Sun-Key Oil Co., Inc. v. Ernest Cannon & Moncrief Minerals P’ship, L.P., the Eleventh Court of Appeals in Eastland affirmed the District Court’s judgment granting summary judgment in favor of a lessor’s lease termination claim based on cessation of production and denying Sun-Key Oil Company’s motion for summary judgment on its … Continue Reading

Location Matters in Purchasing Real Property

By Natalie Barletta In Retamco Operating, Inc. v. Republic Drilling Co., the Texas Supreme Court holds that Republic Drilling, a California company, established minimum contacts with Texas by acting as the transferee of certain oil and gas interests. Retamco Operating sued Paradigm Oil in a Texas district court over unpaid oil and gas royalties. The … Continue Reading