Charles Sartain

Charles Sartain

Gray Reed & McGraw, P.C.

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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

Delay Strikes Down Another Plaintiff

Why am I always reporting on plaintiffs who wait too long to file their lawsuit? In the latest Texas case, Trahan v. Mettlen, the Trahans sued in 2010 on a 2006 warranty deed....more

10/22/2014 - Delays Energy Mineral Rights Minerals Oil & Gas Reservation of Rights

Faulty Property Description Haunts Louisiana Servitude

Halloween is approaching, so let’s talk poltergeists – troublesome spirits that haunt a specific location. Where do they come from? In Quality Environmental Processes, Inc. v I.P. Petroleum Company, Inc., it was from a faulty...more

10/15/2014 - Energy Mineral Rights Oil & Gas Royalties

Easements: Roads Traveled, Less Traveled, and Not Traveled

Why would anyone buy property without access to a public road? Because it seemed like a good idea at the time, I guess. And often it is, until things change, “things” often being new and unfriendly ownership of the...more

10/8/2014 - Easements Energy Energy Policy Oil & Gas

Truth and Illusion in the Fracking Debate

Gas Flaring - According to Earthworks, gas flaring in the Bakken and Eagle Ford Shale is out of control and tons of greenhouse gases are being fired into the atmosphere; therefore, we should ban fracking. According to...more

10/1/2014 - Bakken Shale Fracking Greenhouse Gas Emissions Natural Gas Oil & Gas Shale Gas

How Much Are Your Trees Worth?

In Texas, more than your dog. Gilbert Wheeler, Inc. v. Enbridge Pipelines (East Texas), L.P. is good news for landowners. The Texas Supreme recognized the intrinsic-value-of-trees exception to the general rule for damages to...more

9/25/2014 - Damages Trees Valuation

What Does “Sprawling Litigation” Look Like?

It looks like what you’d expect: a bunch of litigants spending lots of time at a courthouse in Goliad, Texas, with no end in sight. After much ”sprawl” in Harkins v. Northshore Energy it came down to the meaning of this...more

9/19/2014 - Commercial Leases Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Well Drilling

North Dakota Good Faith Purchasers: At What Point is Notice Relevant?

The Question - In order to be a good faith purchaser, a party must not have actual or constructive notice of another’s rights. Northern Oil and Gas v. Creighton asked, When should the determination of whether a party...more

9/17/2014 - Commercial Leases Constructive Notice Mineral Leases Oil & Gas

Subcontractors Score a Victory in Federal Court

On August 27, in In re Heritage Consolidated, L.L.C., the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted subcontractor’s lien rights to two oil and gas drilling contractors. The Court reversed a district court ruling which upheld a...more

9/4/2014 - Appeals Commercial Bankruptcy Construction Industry Liens Mechanics Lien Oil & Gas Subcontractors Well Drilling

Freedom to Contract Prevails in New Mexico

Is freedom to contract a good thing for everybody? First Baptist Church of Roswell v. Yates Petroleum Corp. says yes, and confirms that the public policy in New Mexico is freedom to contract. In this case, it was to avoid...more

8/27/2014 - Contract Disputes Interest Payments Oil & Gas Royalties

In Wyoming, a Higher Burden for Chemical Disclosure Exemption?

In Powder River Basin Resource Council v. Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the Wyoming Supreme Court held that the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has the burden of justifying the use of trade secrets...more

8/20/2014 - Chemicals Disclosure Requirements Fracking Hazardous Substances Oil & Gas Trade Secrets

CO2 is Good

In French vs. Occidental Permian, Ltd. the Texas Supreme Court held that costs associated with injection of carbon dioxide into a reservoir in a tertiary recovery operation were properly deducted from royalties. This...more

8/15/2014 - Carbon Capture and Sequestration Carbon Emissions Energy Greenhouse Gas Emissions Oil & Gas

Treachery of the Untrustworthy Trustee

In 2006, Fred Houston created the Fred L. Houston Trust and placed into it the Tenneco lease, which had been producing since 1974. Ms. Williams was the trustee. The trust instrument declared the trust “… irrevocable and may...more

8/6/2014 - Energy Estate Planning Oil & Gas Spendthrift Trusts Trusts

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