The federal district court in Pecos, Judge David Counts, issued a memorandum opinion in H.L. Hawkins, Jr., Inc. v. Capitan Energy, Inc., P:22-CV-DC[Hawkins] addressing Hawkins’ claim that Capitan had improperly deducted post-production costs from its royalty. The Court held that the reasoning in the recent Texas Supreme Court case of Devon v. Sheppard was of no help to Hawkins.
Hawkins’ lease reserved a royalty of “one-fourth of the gross proceeds received by Lessee,” and contained a free-royalty provision:
Lessor’s royalty shall not bear or be charged with, directly or indirectly, any cost or expense incurred by Lessee, including without limitation, for exploring, drilling, testing, completing, equipping, storing, separating, dehydrating, transporting, compressing, treating, gathering, or otherwise rendering marketable or marketing products, and no such deduction or reduction shall be made from the royalties payable to Lessor hereunder, provided, however, that Lessor’s interest shall bear its proportionate share of severance taxes and other taxes assessed against its interest or its share of production.