Published on:

I attended the Symposium of the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas and Energy Law at UT last week. One of the speakers was Giji M. John, Partner at Orrik, Houston, on renewable energy. Here are some takeaways. (click on images to enlarge.)

Renewable energy’s contribution to US energy consumption in 2018 was 11%. Of that 11%, wind energy contributed 21% and solar 6%. Remarkably, “wood” was 19% of that 11%. So solar and wind combined contributed 27% of 11%, or less than 3%, of energy consumed in the US.

US-energy-consumption-by-source-2018Texas is by far the leader in wind energy production, with 24,895 megawatts of installed capacity. The next state is California with 5,840 MW.

Published on:

I highly recommend a podcast sponsored by Texas Monthly, Boomtown. It’s a series about the history of the Permian Basin and the people who live and work there in the recent boom. Its host is Christian Wallace, who grew up in Andrews. You’ll get to meet his grandmother, who still lives there – quite a lady. You can download it on Apple Podcasts.

boom-town-permian-basin

Published on:

If you’d like to know when there has been a new post on this blog but you don’t want to keep going back to see if there have been any updates, you can subscribe to my blog. There is a link to the right, “how to subscribe to RSS feeds.” Click on that and it will tell you how. Also, I always post on LinkedIn and Twitter when I post a new blog, you can follow me there.

Published on:

The oil and gas industry is at the beginning of a significant downturn. Oil and gas prices are down, supply is up, demand is flat. Another in the never-ending cycle of a boom-and-bust industry, now exacerbated by appearance of a potential coronavirus world epidemic and a sharp reduction in demand for hydrocarbons in China.

As in the past, a downturn in the industry results in a rise in bankruptcies, and this downturn is no exception. Two recent bankruptcy cases illustrate a new wrinkle in disputes arising from failed companies: Monarch Midstream, LLC v. Badlands Production Co., 608 B.R. 854 (Bkrtcy.D.Colo. 2019), and Alta Mesa Holdings, LP v. Kingfisher Midstream, LLC, 2019 WL 7580122 (Bkrtcy.S.D.Tex. Dec. 20, 2019). Continue reading →

Published on:

The Texas Supreme Court issued its opinion in ConocoPhillips Co. v. Ramirez, No. 17-0822, a family dispute over ownership of minerals in 10,058 acres in Zapata County, and ConocoPhillips’ claim to an oil and gas lease covering those minerals.

In 1995, ConocoPhillips bought oil and gas leases from EOG covering 1,058 acres, the Las Piedras Ranch, in Zapata County. At the time there was one producing well on the leases. The minerals belonged to the Ramirez family. One member of that family was Leonor, who died in 1990, owning all of the surface estate and a 1/4 mineral interest in the Ranch. Her will devised to her son Leon Oscar Sr. “all of my right, title and interest in and to Ranch Las Piedras … during term of his natural life,” and on his death “to his children then living in equal shares.” Leon Oscar Sr. signed an oil and gas lease on the Ranch, which was acquired by ConocoPhillips. Continue reading →

Published on:

Last April the Fort Worth Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Bluestone Natural Resources II, LLC v. Randle, No. 02-18-00271-CV, 2019 WL 1716415. The Court decided that, under Randle’s lease, Bluestone could not deduct post-production costs and owed royalty on plant fuel and compressor fuel. Bluestone has petitioned the Supreme Court for review and the Court has asked for briefs on the merits.

Randle’s lease was a printed form with an exhibit. The printed form provided that royalties on gas would be “the market value at the well of one-eighth of the gas so sold or used …” Exhibit A provided that “the language on this Exhibit A supersedes any provisions to the contrary in the printed lease hereof.” One provision in Exhibit A dealt with post-production costs:

Lessee agrees that all royalties accruing under this Lease (including those paid in kind) shall be without deduction, directly or indirectly, for the cost of producing, gathering, storing, separating, treating, dehydrating, compressing, processing, transporting, and otherwise making the oil, gas and other products hereunder ready for sale or use. Lessee agrees to compute and pay royalties on the gross value received, including any reimbursements for severance taxes and production related costs.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Significant cases on oil and gas issues in 2019:

In Texas Outfitters v. Nicholson, the Texas Supreme Court again addressed the duty of the older of executive rights to minerals owned by another.

In Trial v. Dragon, the Supreme Court delved into the arcane theories of the Duhig rule and estoppel by deed.

Published on:

Happy New Year.

The decade now ending was the decade of the Permian Basin.  Its rise in production changed the US to a net oil exporter.

Permian-Oil-Production

Permian gas production, a byproduct of the search for oil, drove down gas prices and resulted in a frenzied effort to build pipelines to move the gas to the coast.

Permian-Gas-Production

Continue reading →

Published on:

The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation has funded research resulting in a report, “Emissions in the Stream: Estimating the Greenhouse Gas Impacts of an Oil and Gas Boom,” by to professors at UT Austin. The report focuses on downstream sources of methane emissions, and will be followed by a report examining policy and technology solutions to reduce emissions.

Here’s the abstract of the report:

The Shale Revolution has stimulated a large and rapid buildout of oil and gas infrastructure in the Gulf and Southwest regions of the United States (US), expected to unfold over decades. Therefore, it is critical to develop a clearer understanding of the scale and composition of the likely greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with this activity. We compile a detailed inventory of projected upstream oil and gas production expansions as well as recently and soon-to-be built midstream and downstream facilities within the region. Using data from emissions permits, emissions factors, and facility capacities, we estimate expected GHG emissions at the facility level for facilities that have recently been constructed or are soon to be constructed. Our central estimate suggests that the total annual emissions impact of the regional oil and gas infrastructure buildout may reach 541 million tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) by 2030, which is more than 8% of total US GHG emissions in 2017 and roughly equivalent to the emissions of 131 coal-fired power plants. A substantial fraction of the projected emissions come from petrochemical facilities (38%) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals (19%). Researchers have largely focused on upstream emissions such as fugitive methane (CH4) associated with new US production; our findings reveal the potentially greater prominence of midstream and downstream sources in the studied region.

The full report can be found here.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Plaintiffs Kenneth Lyle and Linda Morrison have appealed the dismissal of their suit against Midway Solar to the El Paso Court of Appeals, No. 08-19-00216-CV. Lyle and Morrison own the minerals under 315 acres in Pecos County. Midway Solar has constructed a solar farm on 215 of those acres. https://www.oilandgaslawyerblog.com/files/2019/12/Lyle-v.-Midway-Solar.jpg

TexasBarToday_TopTen_Badge_SmallTypically, a solar developer will obtain surface-use waivers from mineral owners before building a facility. Midway did not do that. Instead, it set aside portions of the 315 acres, on the north and south ends of the property, to allow for development of the minerals by directional drilling.

Lyle and Morrison contend their minerals are not susceptible to development by directional or horizontal drilling, because of the subsurface geology. They say 70% of their tract cannot be developed for minerals.  Their minerals are not now leased and there are no plans to drill wells. There has been production from wells in the vicinity.

Contact Information