Charles Sartain

Charles Sartain

Gray Reed & McGraw, P.C.

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What is an Adequate Description For a Mineral Lien ?

Thanks to In re Reichmann Petroleum Corp., we know one that works in Texas: A lien affidavit attaching either a plat or a plat and a Texas Railroad Commission Form W-1 provides an adequate property description for a mineral...more

2/3/2016 - Energy Sector Liens Mineral Leases Oil & Gas

108 Year-Old Lease Survives

A baseball question: You’ve got men on late in the game; a base hit to the right side wins. Do you put the bat on the ball for a single or swing for the deep seats, risking the game-ending strikeout?...more

1/27/2016 - Civil Code Energy Sector Mineral Leases Oil & Gas

Operator: Be Careful Handling Ad Valorem Taxes

This is to be expected in these dark days of diminished cash flow. Imagine: You are the operator and the non-ops have given you their share of ad valorem taxes, expecting you to pay them to the taxing authority at the right...more

1/22/2016 - Ad Valorem Tax Energy Sector

Texas Property Code Change – No More Subordinations?

Weary of having to solicit those pesky subordinations of pre-existing mortgages to your recently-acquired oil and gas leases? Tired of chasing down the third assistant to the fourth vice president for loan servicing just to...more

1/13/2016 - Mineral Leases Mortgages Oil & Gas Subordination

Things That Never Change in the Oil Patch: How to Aggravate the SEC

In the spirit of Charles Ponzi, today we offer advice for attracting special attention from powerful federal authorities who want to punish you. Helms and Kaelin marketed a limited partnership to hold royalty interests in...more

1/6/2016 - Energy Sector Gas Royalties Oil & Gas SEC Securities Fraud

What if a Partition Deed Doesn’t Consider the Minerals?

Did Moses worry about the mineral rights when he parted the Red Sea? Maybe Charlton Heston knows. What we know is that 3,500 years later if you plan to partition surface rights, the time to pay attention to the minerals is...more

12/23/2015 - Climate Change Deeds Energy Sector Mineral Rights Surface Owner

A Corporate Opportunity? … Stolen?

If you want to get to the meaning of a case, one exercise is to put yourself in the shoes of one participant or the other and see how you react to the events. (This also works well with Bible stories, by the way.) Last week...more

12/17/2015 - Breach of Duty Business Opportunities Energy Sector Fiduciary Duty Mineral Leases Oil & Gas

What is a Corporate Opportunity?

Let’s say two fellows are in the oil business and one of his activities is as a director of an exploration company. A deal comes in, they present it to the company, but take it for themselves, Did they steal the opportunity...more

12/11/2015 - Breach of Duty Business Opportunities Energy Sector Fiduciary Duty Oil & Gas

Les Miles is Like the Oil Business

How is that, you say? More on the Les mess: And now, on to our case Co-author Brooke Sizer.   NorAm Drilling Co. v. E & Pco Intern., LLC is important if you: The events E&P acquired two leases in Caldwell Parish, Louisiana,...more

12/2/2015 - Contract Disputes Energy Sector Mineral Leases Oil & Gas

Truthiness and Truth Edition

Truthiness: A quality characterizing a “truth” that a person making an argument or assertion claims to know intuitively, “from the gut” or because it “feels right” without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination...more

11/25/2015 - Energy Sector Fracking Keystone XL Pipeline Oil & Gas Petroleum

Louisiana Mineral Code Article 122 Revisited

Creativity abounds: Your 16-year old “explaining” the empty Southern Comfort bottle and the roach clip; President Obama justifying his rejection of Keystone. The Louisiana Supreme Court isn’t much of a supporter, at least in...more

11/12/2015 - Cause of Action Accrual Disclosure Requirements Mineral Exploration Mineral Leases Oil & Gas

Your MSA is in Place – Now What?

Are you an operator who hires contractors on location, … a contractor who hires subcontractors, … the party to be indemnified for injuries to the other party’s employees? This post is for you. Salas v. Allen Keller...more

11/4/2015 - Construction Industry Contractors Highways Master Service Agreement Negligence Operators Subcontractors Workplace Hazards Workplace Injury Workplace Safety Wrongful Death

Hydrocarbon Exposure Dismissal Affirmed

You might recall previous entries discussing Parr v. Aruba – a suit for personal injuries from oilfield pollution (and a $2.9MM verdict for the plaintiffs). Not all similar suits have the same result....more

10/28/2015 - Appeals Chemical Spills Energy Sector Hydrocarbons Marathon Oil Negligence Oil & Gas Pollution Control Private Nuisance Summary Judgment Toxic Chemicals Toxic Exposure

Oh My! Oklahoma Court Allows Earthquake Case to Proceed

What should we make of the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s order sending a suit alleging injuries from an earthquake back to the trial court for further action?  Did the court unleash the lions, tigers and bears of the litigation...more

10/23/2015 - Earthquakes Energy Sector Fracking OCC Oil & Gas OK Supreme Court Property Damage Underground Injection Wells Wastewater

The Louisiana Right of Passage Discussed

Spoiler alert: Don’t expect a post about a weekend of Mardi Gras debauchery. The owner of a landlocked tract can demand a right of passage over his neighbor’s property to the nearest public road. Does the law require the...more

10/15/2015 - Commercial Property Owners Energy Sector Private Property

Another Chesapeake Post-Production Deduction Case

The result was like others we’ve seen. Lessors Win. These wells are in Johnson and Tarrant County, Texas. Lessee Chesapeake Exploration sells to affiliate Chesapeake Marketing through affiliate-operator Chesapeake Operating....more

10/7/2015 - Energy Sector Mineral Leases Mineral Rights Oil & Gas Royalties

Wage and Hour Claims Menace Producers

It’s common knowledge: Fair Labor Standards Act audits from the U. S. Department of Labor and lawsuits from workers for overtime violations are coming faster than a blitzing safety on a third and long. Native Oilfield...more

9/30/2015 - Attorney's Fees Collective Actions DOL Energy Sector FLSA Halliburton Lay-Offs Oil & Gas Statutory Damages Unpaid Overtime Wage and Hour

How to “Score” a Contract from the Red Zone

Football pundits like to discuss Red Zone effectiveness. Driving to the goal line doesn’t much matter if you don‘t score. So, why would a negotiating party fail to score an enforceable contract while negotiating from the Red...more

9/24/2015 - Contract Formation Mineral Leases Mineral Rights Oil & Gas

Citgo Prevails Over EPA at the Fifth Circuit

USA v. Citgo Petroleum highlights the excruciating degree of detail in federal regulations and the gymnastics the EPA will employ justify a prosecution. The Fifth Circuit has reversed Citgo Petroleum’s conviction for...more

9/18/2015 - Bird Fatalities Citgo Clean Air Act Critical Habitat Endangered Species Energy Sector EPA Migratory Bird Treaty Act Oil & Gas Refineries Wastewater

New York Fracking Ban: Insult Followed by Injury

Political actions have consequences. A force majeure clause in New York oil and gas leases does not modify the primary term of the habendum clause and the leases are not extended because of the state ban “moratorium” on...more

9/9/2015 - Energy Sector Force Majeure Clause Fracking Fracking Bans Mineral Leases Moratorium Oil & Gas Summary Judgment

You Own the Oil. Do You Own the Rock?

Riddle: What’s the difference between a hydrocarbon molecule and the underground structure which the molecule inhabits? Answer: In Texas, you can own one and not the other, according to Lightning Oil Co. v. Anadarko E&P...more

9/3/2015 - Hydrocarbons Leases Mineral Leases Mineral Rights Minerals Oil & Gas Subsurface Estates Surface Estates Tortious Interference Trespass Well Drilling

Compressor Station Negligent Nuisance Verdict Reversed

Therapist: “We’re here today in group to bring closure to the traumatic events of Crosstex North Texas Pipeline L.P. v. Gardiner. Each side claims mistreatment by his adversary and by one component or another of the civil...more

8/28/2015 - Easements Eminent Domain Energy Sector Excessive Noise Negligence Nuisance Oil & Gas Pipelines

Who Needs A Master Service Agreement?

You do, whether you are a vendor or an operator. Matador Production Company vs. Weatherford Artificial Lift Systems, Inc. is a treatise on what can go wrong with a frac job: Failure of pumps, worker inexperience, failure of...more

8/19/2015 - Breach of Warranty Donald Trump Economic Damages Energy Sector Fracking Master Service Agreement Negligence Oil & Gas Summary Judgment

Did the 2015 Texas Legislature Help Oil and Gas?

Your Texas legislators have done their work and the citizens are safe for the next two years.  The other good news is that industry supporters generally believe the 2015 Legislature was their friend. House Bill 2: Set...more

8/13/2015 - Desalination Disposal Wells Earthquakes Energy Sector Fracking Fracking Bans Groundwater Groundwater Management Plan Hydraulic Fracturing Study Mineral Leases New Legislation Oil & Gas Seismic Data Water Supplies

Ballplayers Don’t Fear the Clock; Should a Plaintiff?

Quiz: How is baseball not like litigation? Plaintiffs who fail to pay attention to the clock that is the statute of limitations end up as just more detritus littering courtrooms everywhere. See Ranchero Esperanza. Ltd. v....more

8/5/2015 - Business Litigation Marathon Oil Negligence Oil & Gas Statute of Limitations

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