Last week, the U.S. Department of the Interior released its proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) five-year program for offshore oil and gas leasing. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) requires the Secretary of the Department of the Interior to “prepare and periodically revise and maintain an oil and gas leasing program” (i.e., a five-year

As announced in Louisiana Tax Commission Statewide Advisory 03-2021 on Hurricane Ida, pursuant to La. R.S. 47:1978.1, Louisiana Assessors in Parishes affected by Hurricane Ida have to reassess property for purposes of the upcoming annual property tax bills to take into account any reductions in fair market value to property as a result of hurricane

In the wake of Hurricane Ida, many employers are struggling to find ways to maintain their business and protect their most precious asset: their employees. In this article, we review some of the most frequently asked labor and employment law questions facing employers in the aftermath of this catastrophic storm, including payroll issues, attendance issues,

While much of the interest around sustainability and social responsibility has centered on larger public companies, private companies are set to make significant contributions to these efforts by integrating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles.  Modern businesses understand that sustainability and social responsibility are no longer niche interests and prioritizing a strong ESG proposition creates

On July 1, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service published Revenue Ruling 2021-13, which provides guidance on three important issues related to the income tax credit for carbon oxide sequestration found in section 45Q of the Internal Revenue Code.  Recall that section 45Q provides for a credit against a taxpayer’s income tax liability based on the amount of carbon oxide (a) captured using carbon capture equipment, (b) placed in service at a qualified facility and (c) disposed of, injected, or utilized in a specified manner.  For more information on carbon capture and section 45Q tax credits, see here, here and here.
Continue Reading New IRS Revenue Ruling Provides Opportunities for Financing Carbon Capture Equipment

On June 29, 2021, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, held that a natural gas company’s right to condemn property for a pipeline under the Natural Gas Act includes the right to condemn state-owned property. In PennEast Pipeline Co. v. New Jersey,[1] the divided Court held that a certificate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) entitled PennEast Pipeline Company (PennEast) to use the federal government’s power of eminent domain to seize property owned by the State of New Jersey.
Continue Reading United States Supreme Court Blocks New Jersey’s Sovereign Immunity Challenge to FERC Certificate Holder’s Condemnation of State-Owned Land

Devon Energy Production Company, L.P. v. Sheppard is a royalty dispute between several lessees, Devon Energy Production Co., L.P., et. al., and several lessors, Michael A. Sheppard, et. al., concerning a novel royalty term that may have a huge impact on the way oil and gas royalties are paid in the future.  See 13-19-00036-CV, 2020 WL 6164467, at *12 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi Oct. 22, 2020, pet. filed).  The novel term, referred to as an “add-back” or “add-to-proceeds” provision, requires any deductions to the sale of production to be added back to the proceeds in order to determine the appropriate royalty base.  The lessors argue that under this term, the deductions in the lessees’ sales contracts attributable to the buyers’ post-transfer costs must be added to the gross proceeds in order to establish a royalty base above the gross proceeds.  The lessees disagree, countering that the clear intent of the provision is merely to prohibit the deduction of their own post-production costs, not the post-transfer costs of the buyers.  The lessors won in the trial court; the court of appeals affirmed.  Now the case is before the Texas Supreme Court, with a recently submitted amicus brief containing the argument that could turn the tides back in the lessees’ favor.
Continue Reading New Developments in Shocking Case Before the Texas Supreme Court Regarding Construction of Novel Oil & Gas Royalty Term

On June 9, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1284 (“HB 1284”), which was introduced along with its Senate companion, SB 450, during the state’s 87th legislative session.  HB 1284 grants the Texas Railroad Commission (“RRC”), the governmental agency that regulates the state’s oil and gas industry, sole jurisdiction over Class VI Injection Wells and carbon capture, use, and sequestration (“CCUS”) activities in Texas.
Continue Reading New Legislation Signals Strong Support for CCUS in Texas

In a nod to LGBTQ+ Pride Month and the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released new resources “to educate employees, applicants and employers about the rights of all employees, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers, to be free from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment.” The materials – none of which state new policy but instead rely on previously adopted positions – “are part of EEOC’s effort to ensure that the public can find accessible, plain language materials in a convenient location on EEOC’s website.”
Continue Reading EEOC Unveils New Online Resources in Observance of LGBTQ+ Pride Month