Charles Sartain

Charles Sartain

Gray Reed & McGraw, P.C.

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Your Texas Legislature at Work, Part 2

The Texas legislature is still busy on energy issues. Is that good or bad? It depends on your situation; oil patch thieves won’t like it. Wind Energy - Senate Bill 931 would blow away the Renewable Portfolio...more

4/30/2015 - Energy Sector Oil & Gas Proposed Legislation Wind Power

What is Your Texas Legislature Doing for You Today?

The Texas legislature has been busy on energy. House Bill 40, similar to House Bills 539 and 540, steamrolled through the House of Representatives last week by a vote of 122 to 18. Reminds us of A L pitchers not...more

4/22/2015 - Legislative Agendas Oil & Gas Pending Legislation Preemption Railroads

The Danger of “Too Much Information”?

I know contract writers who like to state terms, such as property descriptions, several different ways. If you just have to over-describe, at least be careful, and at least be sure the descriptions are consistent....more

4/16/2015 - Chain of Title Contract Drafting Deeds Legal Description Property Owners

No Equitable Extension of a Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Lease

Whoa! I didn’t see this one coming. Pennsylvania lessees are not entitled to an equitable extension of the primary term of an oil and gas lease in the face of a legal challenge to the validity of the lease....more

4/9/2015 - Contract Term Declaratory Judgments Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Time Extensions Tolling

A Lesson in Lease Administration

What must a Louisiana lessee do to avoid statutory penalties for non-payment of royalty, and what must a royalty owner do to put the lessee on notice that royalties are not being paid? The answers are, more than the lessee...more

3/31/2015 - Mineral Leases Royalties Statutory Penalties Trust Administration

Must the Lessee Be Wary of the Executive Right Owner?

You are negotiating to take a big oil and gas lease. The run sheets show you are dealing with an executive right owner on behalf of himself and his NPRI owner. His proposed terms are odd: a lower-than-market royalty and a...more

3/25/2015 - Contract Negotiations Fiduciary Duty Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Royalties

The Executive Right and the NPRI – What is the Relationship?

The duty owed by the executive right holder to its non-participating royalty interest holder in Texas, long haunted by the ghost of Clinton Manges, is again examined. From KCM Financial, et al. v. Bradshaw and its...more

3/18/2015 - C-Suite Executives Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Royalties

Denbury Part II: Big Changes Coming in Texas Pipeline Condemnations ?

Is Denbury’s Green Pipeline a common carrier? That question is alive and well in Texas. In Texas Rice Land Partners Ltd. v. Denbury Green-Texas Pipeline, LLC, the Beaumont court of appeals reversed a summary judgment granted...more

3/11/2015 - Appeals Common Carriers condemna Oil & Gas Pipelines Public Use

What Can I Get From My Lessee if I Ask the Court For It?

It s been said that if you don’t ask for what you want you’ll get what you deserve. Mr. Hooks took that truism to heart. Hooks v. Samson is about more than the discovery rule (See last week). Here are the other claims...more

3/3/2015 - Mineral Leases Most-Favored Nations Oil & Gas Royalties

Texas Supreme Court Relaxes Its Grip on the Discovery Rule

The Texas Supreme Court – that elephants’ graveyard of claims and causes of action – has sided with a lessor-plaintiff who relied on the discovery rule to defeat a limitations defense. For the many with low expectations when...more

2/25/2015 - Discovery Fraudulent Inducement Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Public Records TX Supreme Court

Louisiana Lessee Could be Liable for Withholding Information

A Quiz - You are in Louisiana and are described as having a “lesion beyond moiety”. What do you do? A. Contact your primary care physician for an appointment...more

2/18/2015 - Fair Market Value Fraud Mineral Leases Misrepresentation Oil & Gas Rescission Royalties

Operator Can’t Recover Drilling Costs For Affiliate’s Expensive Rig

In Elm Ridge Exploration Co., LLC v. Engle we are reminded of a little-used provision in the 1989 Model Form Operating Agreement. Article VI.D.1 allows the operator to use its own equipment, but his charges may not exceed...more

2/4/2015 - Breach of Contract Business Litigation Oil & Gas Operating Agreements Well Drilling

Meanwhile in Texas … Who Should Decide About Fracking?

Rep. Phil King has introduced two bills relating to fracking. House Bill 539 would add requirements for municipalities that propose petitions or ordinances that will affect oil and natural gas production. The Bill would...more

1/28/2015 - Fracking Fracking Bans Local Ordinance Oil & Gas Pending Legislation Revenue

Consider The Retained Acreage Clause

Have you ever wondered about the original purpose of the retained acreage clause? According to Professor Kramer, it was “to prevent the lessee from losing those portions of a lease that had productive wells thereon if the...more

1/21/2015 - Commercial Leases Lease Termination Leases Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Retained Acreage

5th Circuit Blocks Punitive Damages in Maritime Case

In McBride v. Estis Well Service, LLC, the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that punitive damages are not available to seamen under the Jones Act or under general maritime law. In those cases, recovery is...more

1/7/2015 - Appeals Jones Act Offshore Drilling Oil & Gas Pecuniary Losses Punitive Damages Seamen

Frackers v. Anti’s – Scoring update

The box scores after election day showed frackers 4, anti’s 4. Courtesy of a gubernatorial grand-slam by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, hydraulic fracturing is now banned throughout the entire state of New York....more

12/24/2014 - Andrew Cuomo Energy Policy Fracking Fracking Bans Natural Gas Oil & Gas

A Little-Used Doctrine Saves a Lease

Would this scenario keep you up at night? Your lease does not produce from May through August because a leak in a heater-treater makes it impossible or impractical to produce the well. Problems such as access to the site...more

12/17/2014 - Lease Termination Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Well Drilling

Listen to the Words In the Injunction Battle

In Lightning Oil Company v. Anadarko E&P Offshore, LLC, the surface and 1/6 of the minerals of the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area is owned by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 5/6th of the minerals is owned by the...more

12/10/2014 - Department of Fish and Wildlife Horizontal Wells Injunctions Mineral Leases Minerals Oil & Gas Surface Owner

Avoid the Oral Agreement

Cresson SWD Services, L.P. vs. Basic Energy Services, L.P. is a warning about the perils of an oral agreement for a risky downhole procedure. Cresson hired Basic to make improvements on a saltwater disposal well by deepening...more

12/5/2014 - Contract Formation Oil & Gas Oral Contracts Well Drilling

The Fat Lady Who Hasn’t Sung, Oil Field Technology, and a Lizard

Today is a grab-bag of topics, a pastiche if your college tuition was higher than mine. When Will the Fat Lady Sing? El Paso Marketing, LP v. Wolf Hollow I, L.P., involving a gas plant Supply Agreement,...more

12/1/2014 - Endangered Species Act Energy Projects ESA Listings Fish and Wildlife Service Natural Gas Oil & Gas Power Plants

More Seismic Rumbling in Louisiana

In Olympia Minerals et al v. HS Resources, et al, the Louisiana Supreme Court addressed a decision we discussed in a February entry by affirming in part, reversing in part, amending in part and remanding (because why do one...more

11/20/2014 - Breach of Contract Construction Industry Contract Disputes Data-Sharing Mineral Leases Mineral Rights Remand Reversal Seismic Data

Election Scoreboard: Frackers 4, Anti’s 4

Hydraulic fracturing bans had eight at-bats last Tuesday. Here are the results. Denton, Texas - YES 58.64%... NO 41.36%...more

11/12/2014 - Election Results Fracking Fracking Bans Oil & Gas

The Well Operator Should Have Listened To My Mother

My mother used to give us good advice. For example: Don’t lie … do your homework. Sabella v. Appalachian Development Corporation agrees with my mother. Sabella bought minerals in 1997 under 66 acres in Warren...more

11/7/2014 - Conversion Ejectment Energy Energy Policy Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Mineral Rights Oil & Gas Statute of Limitations Trespass Well Drilling

Hydrocarbon Exposure Reconsidered

You might recall previous entries discussing the $2.9 million Dallas County verdict and judgment in Parr v. Aruba. Not all similar suits have the same result. Michael and Myra Cerny sued Marathon Oil Corp. and Plains...more

10/28/2014 - Hydrocarbons Negligence Oil & Gas Toxic Exposure

What’s Going On in Denton, Texas?

As you probably know, the Denton City Council denied a petition signed by several thousand citizens to ban hydraulic fracturing within the city limits. The denial sent the question to the November 4 general election ballot. ...more

10/28/2014 - Fracking Fracking Bans Local Ordinance

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