Second Circuit Upholds Independent Contractor Status for E & P Company

The issue of whether a company is an independent contractor of an E & P company is frequently litigated in oilfield injury accidents, as the injured worker searches for multiple sources of possible recovery.  In McDaniel v R.J.’s Transportation, LLC,  —- So.3d —, 2021 WL115917, the Second Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of Comstock Oil & Gas, LLC, emphasizing not only the importance of the language of Comstock’s Master Service Agreement (“MSA”), but the absence of any contractual or actual operational control over the activities of its independent contractor. Continue Reading

The Meaning of “And” Determines Outcome of Oil and Gas Feud

In Tier 1 Resources Partners et al. v. Delaware Basin Resources LLC, 08-20-00060-CV, the Court of Appeals for the Eighth District of Texas (El Paso) recently held oral argument on the proper construction of the word “and” used in a Delaware Basin oil and gas lease.  The meaning of the word is hotly contested, the death of a lease potentially worth millions of dollars largely depending on the interpretation of a single conjunction. Continue Reading

Carbon Capture and Sequestration in 2021: The Path Forward

2021 is already poised to offer substantial growth in the area of carbon capture and sequestration (“CCS”). On January 21, Elon Musk announced on Twitter that he will donate $100 million to the “best” carbon capture technology, chosen through a competition whose details and judging criteria are yet to be announced. Further, on February 1, the New York Times reported that ExxonMobil announced that it would invest $3 billion in carbon and other projects to lower emissions. As part of this effort, Exxon is creating a new entity, ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions.  In addition, recently passed federal regulations are expected to encourage more private investment in CCS projects. Continue Reading

Is the Frequency of Louisiana Environmental Quality Act Citizen Suit Litigation Increasing?

In 2003, the Louisiana Supreme Court rendered its landmark decision in Corbello, et al. v. Iowa Production, et al.  Since then, Louisiana courts have seen a steady stream of “legacy litigation” claims being filed.  Legacy litigation claims generally concern alleged contamination arising from historic oil and gas operations under theories of both breach of contract and tort.  Recently, those typical types of claims have been supplemented in some legacy litigation cases with citizen suit allegations based on the Louisiana Environmental Quality Act.

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Survey of Proposed Legislation Across the States Affecting the Energy Industry in 2021

Several pieces of energy-industry legislation are teed up for debate as state legislatures reconvene for their first sessions of 2021. With topics ranging from offshore oil and gas moratoriums to restrictions on natural gas flaring and venting, the following is an overview of notable energy legislation to be heard in state legislatures this year. Continue Reading

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR ISSUES 60-DAY MORATORIUM ON FEDERAL LEASING AND DRILLING PERMITS

Following through with President Biden’s campaign promise to halt oil and gas drilling on federal lands, on January 20, 2021, the Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior (“Interior”) issued an order, effective immediately, mandating a 60-day moratorium on new oil and gas leases and drilling permits on public lands and waters (“Order”). Continue Reading

It’s Heating Up: United States Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Proper Jurisdiction for Climate-Change Lawsuit

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the climate change lawsuit filed by the City of Baltimore in 2018 against energy companies. This case is one of a number of cases brought by states, cities, and other municipalities against energy companies alleging that the companies contributed to climate change. By granting certiorari and hearing oral arguments, the Supreme Court has agreed to review the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision remanding the suit to state court after rejecting the energy companies’ contention that they were acting as federal officers pursuant to historical contracts with the federal government. Continue Reading

SBA and IRS Create Further Uncertainty with the Federal Income Tax Deductibility of Certain Expenditures Paid for with Funds from a PPP Loan

On October 26, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) published a notice seeking comment on two Loan Necessity Questionnaires (Form 3509 for “for-profit” entity borrowers and Form 3510 for “non-profit” entity borrowers) that are to be submitted by borrowers who have received Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans and are seeking forgiveness of those loans pursuant to section 1106 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”). Continue Reading

Louisiana Third Circuit Confirms Settled Application of Subsequent Purchaser Doctrine Where Expired Mineral Leases at Issue

As it “is impossible to transfer rights to an assignee under an expired mineral lease,” in a case where oil, gas and mineral leases had expired prior to plaintiff’s acquisition of the property, the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Litel Explorations, L.L.C. v. Aegis Development Company, L.L.C., et al. affirmed dismissal of claims pursuant to the subsequent purchaser doctrine, which provides that the right to sue for property damage is a personal right that belongs to the landowner who owned the property at the time the damage occurred, unless the right has been explicitly assigned or subrogated to the subsequent purchaser of the land. Continue Reading

Governor Edwards Indicates that Offshore Wind is on the Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico

Governor John Bel Edwards has identified offshore wind energy as a feature component of his recently announced renewable energy initiative for the Gulf of Mexico. The Governor announced the initiative at the inaugural meeting of his Climate Initiative Task Force. Continue Reading

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