Charles Sartain

Charles Sartain

Gray Reed & McGraw

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Lessons in Administering a Master Service Agreement

Is condensate a contaminant? When it spills and burns a worker, yes. In Hiland Partners v. National Union Fire Insurance Company the operator, an additional insured under a contractor’s commercial general liability insurance...more

2/28/2017 - Bodily Injury Commercial General Liability Policies Contract Drafting Denial of Insurance Coverage Discharge of Pollutants Duty to Defend Insurance Industry Master Service Agreement Oil & Gas

Mineral Lease Prevails in Louisiana Royalty Dispute

Prevails over what, you ask? In Gladney v. Anglo-Dutch Energy, LLC, a conditional allowable from the Office of Conservation didn’t supersede lease royalty obligations....more

2/21/2017 - Appeals Contract Terms Energy Sector Gas Royalties Mineral Leases Oil & Gas

Award for Nuisance From Gas Wells Squelched

It was a bad day for the Parrs in Aruba Petroleum v. Parr. The trial court judgment was against the operator for intentional nuisance. The Parrs recovered $2.9 million for pain and suffering and mental anguish and for loss of...more

2/14/2017 - Contamination Damages Discharge of Pollutants Energy Sector Evidence Fair Market Value Land Owners Nuisance Oil & Gas Oil Wells Pain and Suffering Residential Real Estate Market

Oil and Gas Arbitration – Did the Parties Get What They Bargained For?

First, a promise: I won’t report on another arbitration case until there is more to say than “business as usual”. Second, an opinion: Arbitration is still the right forum in many situations. Third, remember: An award and a...more

2/8/2017 - Appeals Arbitration Arbitration Awards Contract Disputes Energy Sector Federal Arbitration Act Oil & Gas

What Price For a Louisiana Servitude?

According to Enterprise Te Products Pipeline Company v. Avila, it is the value of the expropriated property, even if it is as little as 33 cents each to the landowners. This seemingly small case must have had big potential...more

2/2/2017 - Damages Energy Sector Equitable Servitudes Expropriation Oil & Gas Property Owners Residential Real Estate Market

Oil Industry Custom and the Model Form JOA: A Debate

We begin with an existential question: “The philosophy behind all of the model form agreements is that aggressive drilling under the JOA should be promoted and rewarded. Agree or disagree? ...more

1/24/2017 - Energy Exploration Energy Sector Joint Operating Agreement Oil & Gas Well Drilling

It’s Now Easier To Be a Common Carrier Pipeline in Texas

We now know what it takes to establish common carrier pipeline status in Texas. According to the Texas Supreme Court in Denbury Green Pipeline Texas LLC v. Texas Rice Land Partners Ltd., all that is required is a reasonable...more

1/17/2017 - Common Carriers Oil & Gas Pipelines Summary Judgment TX Supreme Court

The Constructive Notice Doctrine in Action

Today’s “pay attention” edition begins with a quiz. What is the most important thing to read carefully: a. Speed limit sign in small-town (insert name of Southern state). b. Itinerary for that dream vacation, the...more

1/10/2017 - Constructive Notice Contract Terms Deeds Energy Sector Land Titles Mineral Extraction Reformation Statute of Limitations

2016 – A Bad Year For Bad Guys in Energy

Let’s look back at a cavalcade of crooks, criminals and miscreants who met up with justice in 2016. We do it to be reminded of the others who will be lurking in the 2017 shadows....more

1/6/2017 - Biofuel Cease and Desist Orders Criminal Conspiracy Energy Sector Enforcement Actions Fraud Hackers Mail Fraud Oil & Gas Ponzi Scheme Popular SEC Securities Exchange Act Securities Fraud Securities Violations Tax Fraud Wire Fraud

Have You Reviewed Your Lease Maintenance Processes Lately?

You might conclude that the but-for-the-grace-of-God-that-could-be-me nightmare presented in In re: RPH Capital Partners is instructive only for lawyers. If so, you would be mistaken. The lesson: If you want to win the...more

12/28/2016 - Contract Disputes Contract Terms Due Process Energy Sector Gas Royalties Lessee Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Participation Agreements

TXO v. Vela Remembered in a Gas Royalty Case

Westport Oil & Gas Company, L.P. v. Mecom et al. presented this question: Was the lease royalty based on a gas purchase agreement formula or on the royalty clauses’s market value at the well provision? Spoiler alert:...more

12/20/2016 - Contract Terms Energy Sector Gas Royalties Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Purchase Agreement

Your Louisiana Override – Where Does it Come From?

It’s a multiple choice question: a. The royalty interest reserved by the lessor. b. The drillbit, courtesy of fearless, risk-taking entrepreneurs, the backbone of the great American free enterprise system and the...more

12/15/2016 - Energy Sector Gas Royalties Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Operating Agreement

Arbitration in Louisiana – Another Budding Romance?

Are Louisiana courts as enamored with arbitration as their Texas counterparts? Looks like it. East of the Sabine, submitting your dispute to arbitration means you are pretty much saying adieu, farewell and bye-bye to...more

12/7/2016 - Arbitration Arbitration Awards Contract Disputes Energy Sector Gross Negligence Joint Operating Agreement LA Supreme Court Oil & Gas Participation Agreements Professional Negligence

The Rule Against Perpetuities is Alive and Enforceable in Oklahoma

Today we venture into Oklahoma, to be instructed on the Supreme Court’s treatment of the Rule Against Perpetuities. First, the Rule: No property interest is good unless it must vest, if all, not later than 21 years after...more

12/1/2016 - Breach of Contract Energy Sector Limited Liability Company (LLC) Mineral Exploration Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Participation Agreements Rule Against Perpetuities Tortious Interference Well Drilling

Option Contract Ruling Reversed by Texas Supreme Court.

North Shore Energy v. Harkins interpreted an Option Agreement between landowners and a producer over a 400 acre tract. In football they would say the Texas Supreme Court pancaked the plaintiff. In the law, some would call it...more

11/17/2016 - Ambiguous Appeals Breach of Contract Contract Interpretation Contract Terms Energy Sector Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Property Owners Tortious Interference TX Supreme Court

Operator – Don’t Get Burned by Paying an Insolvent Contractor

Just received notice of a Texas subcontractor’s mineral lien? DO NOT continue to pay the contractor. He hasn’t paid the subcontractor. Think you owe nothing on the well on which the lien will be filed? Think what you owe the...more

11/9/2016 - Contractors Energy Sector Insolvency Liens Master Service Agreement Mineral Rights Oil & Gas Residential Real Estate Market

What Your New President Will Do For or To You

We begin with a Rorschach test. As the big election day approaches, which candidate do you see in the photograph? Discuss among yourselves. Get ready for lots of musical interludes. The nation’s despair runs deep and...more

11/3/2016 - Energy Sector Hillary Clinton Oil & Gas Political Campaigns Political Candidates Presidential Elections Renewable Energy Solar Energy Trump Administration Wind Power

Texas Courts Continue Their Romance With Arbitration

The lessons in Craddick Partners Ltd. v. EnerSciences Holdings, LLC are three: Parties who have not signed an agreement to arbitrate have standing to compel arbitration; artful pleading to avoid arbitration won’t work; and...more

10/26/2016 - Arbitration Energy Sector Motion to Compel Negligence Negligent Misrepresentation Oil & Gas Tortious Interference

Louisiana Statutory Penalties Imposed on Operator

If you’ve ever tried to escape penalties for the operator/producer’s failure to comply with La. R.S §30:103.1 and §103.2, take comfort in XXI Oil & Gas, LLC v. Hilcorp Energy Company. You are not alone. No excuse has...more

10/24/2016 - Energy Costs Energy Exploration Energy Sector Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Operators Statutory Penalties Well Drilling

Texas Tax Ruling Favors Frac Trailer Owners

If you were able to keep your frac trailers from the clutches of your avaricious creditors during the past several unpleasant years, you could be in luck. Owners and lessors of frac trailers may be entitled to a refund for...more

10/17/2016 - ALJ Energy Sector Fracking Heavy Equipment Oil & Gas Sales Tax Tax Refunds

Methane Emissions Standards Take Effect

Effective this past August 3, the EPA has new regulations for methane and volatile organic compound emissions from oil and gas operations  As you know, reducing methane emissions is a key component of the President‘s climate...more

10/6/2016 - Climate Change Environmental Policies EPA Methane Obama Administration Oil & Gas Regulatory Standards Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)

New Mexico Pit Rule Survives Challenge by Enviro Group

In a case displaying the tactics of anti-fossil fuel advocates, Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project v. New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission, a court rejected a challenge to the Commission’s amendment of the “Pit...more

9/28/2016 - Energy Sector Environmental Policies Oil & Gas Public Health Regulatory Oversight Underground Storage Tanks Water Supplies

Back to the Bulgarian Bad Guy, So Say the Justices

My blogging sensei Cordell Parvin says the title should always inform the reader of the content. Mea culpa on this one; I couldn’t resist the alliterations. Some time back I reported on Carlton Energy Group et al v....more

9/21/2016 - Actual Damages Appeals Contract Disputes Energy Exploration Energy Projects Energy Sector Fair Market Value Lost Profits Oil & Gas Purchase Agreement Reversal

Assigning By “Stratigraphic Equivalent”? Be Careful

How many of your mineral conveyances are described like this: … all of Sellers’ right, title and interest in and to (a) the oil, gas and other minerals in, to and under the lands … ONLY INSOFAR as such oil, gas and other...more

9/14/2016 - Energy Sector Mineral Leases Mineral Rights Oil & Gas Subsurface Conditions Well Drilling

Louisiana Partition Agreement: You Can’t Trade What You Don’t Own

Square Mile Energy LLC v. Pommier considered this language in a Louisiana partition agreement: “N.B: Included in this transfer are any and all mineral rights, when available, to Roxanne and all surface rights.” Did this...more

9/1/2016 - Community Property Contract Interpretation Contract Terms Energy Sector Land Titles Mineral Leases Mineral Rights Oil & Gas Partitions Property Ownership Transfer of Interest

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