The post-pandemic era has brought about some of the largest jury verdicts seen to date. This post-pandemic verdict inflation is of concern to many different industries, including the energy industry. This recent trend could be the result of many different factors, such as social media, the COVID-19 pandemic, a generational shift as millennials take over

Texas Public Utility Commission orders all TDUs in the ERCOT region to rotate customers such that no such customer is subjected to an electricity outage of more than 12 hours.

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This article was updated on April 14, 2020.

Day-to-day life has been dramatically impacted by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and many courts in Louisiana and Texas have been forced to close or limit operations in conjunction with stay-at-home orders.  A brief discussion of how COVID-19 has affected Louisiana and Texas courts is discussed here.

Continue Reading Louisiana and Texas COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Orders and Effects on State Courts

Today, countries worldwide are responding to a pandemic of respiratory disease spreading from person-to-person caused by a novel coronavirus.  The disease has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).  The pandemic poses a serious public health risk, and government response has included closure of schools and businesses, declarations of emergency, and issuance of a variety of “stay home” orders—typically instructing all but “essential personnel” to remain in their residences other than to gather necessaries.  These events have dramatically impacted the world economy, and wreaked havoc on the day-to-day functions of individuals and businesses in the United States and elsewhere.  Does this pandemic and resultant disruption constitute a force majeure event under Louisiana and Texas law?

Continue Reading COVID-19 as a Force Majeure? The Texas and Louisiana Perspectives

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of denials of applications to decommission offshore pipelines in place in a departure from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (“BSEE”) longstanding practices.  The denials are accompanied by an order from BSEE to decommission the pipelines by removal, with reference to Notice to Lessees (“NTL”) 2009-G04 and/or “significant sediment resource areas” (“SSRA”) in the vicinity of the pipeline.  BSEE is also issuing orders to companies to remove pipelines located in SSRAs that were previously decommissioned in place.


Continue Reading Federal Offshore Pipeline Decommissioning in BOEM Significant Sediment Resource Areas

Last year, in another dispute over who should bear the cost of decommissioning offshore facilities, the Southern District of Texas held that a former sub-assignee of offshore operating rights was entitled to equitable subrogation from the record title owner and initial assignor.  Sojitz Energy Venture, Inc. v. Union Oil Co. of California, 394 F. Supp. 3d 687 (S.D. Tex. 2019).

Continue Reading Fifth Circuit to Hold Oral Argument in Sojitz v. UNOCAL in April 2020

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.

  1. 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 the lessee of the base lease, BP, contending that the prior lease had terminated due to a cessation of production in paying quantities. 
Continue Reading Texas Supreme Court Agrees to Review Three Oil and Gas Cases in 2016

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 Equipment qualifies under the so-called “manufacturing exemption” found in Section 111.104(a)(2) of the Texas Tax Code,  which exempts:

tangible personal property directly used or consumed in or during the actual manufacturing, processing, or fabrication of tangible personal property for ultimate sale if the use or consumption of the property is necessary or essential to the manufacturing, processing, or fabrication operation and directly makes or causes a chemical or physical change to:

(A) the product being manufactured, processed, or fabricated for ultimate sale; or

(B) any intermediate or preliminary product that will become an ingredient or component part of the product being manufactured, processed, or fabricated for ultimate sale[.]
Continue Reading Texas Supreme Court Rules Oil and Gas Producer Not Entitled to Sales Tax “Manufacturing Exemption”

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,

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