Well Drilling

News & Analysis as of

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

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Ruling That New York State’s Moratorium on Hydraulic Fracturing Did Not Extend the...

New York’s 2010 moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, culminating in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s formal ban of the practice in his state on December 17, 2014, made many large waves in the political, legal, and public arenas, the...more

August 2015: Energy Litigation Update

Reserve Reports During the Oil Slump. The collapse of oil prices in the latter half of 2014 has led to SEC scrutiny of exploration and production (E&P) company compliance with rules regarding the calculation and reporting of...more

More on Methane: Adjacency, Consistency, and a Major Source of Confusion

On Tuesday, August 18, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued a package of four proposals to control methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. By far, EPA’s proposed New Source Performance...more

EPA Launches Proposed Measures to Cut Methane and VOC Emissions from Oil & Gas Industry: Agency Clarifies Permitting Requirements...

Draft New Source Performance Standards to Reduce Methane and VOC Emissions - The oil and gas sector is the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) latest target regarding the reduction of GHG emissions. The White House...more

From Playa Lakes To Prairie Potholes: Four Things Energy Companies Need to Know About the WOTUS Rule

Have one or several playa lakes on or near a well pad in the Permian Basin? An access road nearby an ephemeral tributary of the Green River in the Uintah Basin? A pipeline that traverses lands dotted with prairie potholes in...more

Emerging Trends in Tort Litigation Alleging Health Injuries Caused by Neighboring Oil and Gas Activities

Last year's $2.9 million verdict in Parr v. Aruba Petroleum, the so-called "first fracking trial," garnered attention in Texas and beyond. The significance laid not only in that the plaintiffs had succeeded on their private...more

EPA Proposal Limits Methane, Other Emissions in Oil, Natural Gas Sector

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released proposed regulations that would set performance standards for emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from new and modified sources in the...more

Secret Recipes: Fracking Fluid Fracas

Several of our previous posts have covered the trade secrets implications of laws that require disclosure of hydraulic fracturing fluid ingredients. As today’s method of hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling...more

Denton, Texas at Center of Another Land Use Dispute

Less than three months after Texas House Bill 40, which limits municipalities' abilities to regulate oil and gas operations, was signed into law, and little more than a month after the City Council repealed its highly...more

D.C. District Court Judge Chastises the Department of the Interior, Ordering It to Deliver a Plan on a BLM Drilling Permit, After...

On July 27, 2015, D.C. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon entered a strongly worded order in Solenex LLC v. Jewell, chastising the defendants, including the Department of the Interior and numerous other federal agencies,...more

Hydraulic Fracturing: State Regulatory Roundup Vol. 43

Fracking Insider Readers: We are pleased to bring you Volume 43 of our State Regulatory Roundup, including updates in California, New York, and Ohio. As we explained in earlier volumes, we designed the Roundup to provide...more

When Actual Notice isn’t “Actual Notice” - The Harvilchuck Case

A recent Commonwealth Court decision may have significant implications for permittees in Pennsylvania obtaining approvals from the Department of Environmental Protection (“Department” or “DEP”) under various environmental...more

Texas Becomes First State to Ban Fracking Bans

On May 18, 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 40 into law, putting restrictions on the ability of municipalities to regulate the oil and gas industry in their jurisdictions. Because the bill passed both the...more

Oilfield Water Recycling Could Significantly Boost Texas Water Supplies

Robust drilling and production activity in the Eagle Ford, Permian Basin, Granite Wash, and other oil-producing areas of Texas has unleashed high demand for frac water and a surge of produced water as wells come online. A...more

Court Arrives at Fair Market Value of Gas Property

In Texas, lost profits can’t be recovered as damages unless proven to a “reasonable certainty”. Question 1: What does that mean? Question 2: Does it matter if the deal is in Bulgaria? Let’s get rid of the...more

Alaska Supreme Court Says Exploration is a Transfer of Interest in State Land, Cannot Be Allowed Without Full Public Notice and...

The Alaska Supreme Court’s recent decision in Nunamta Alukestai v. Pebble Limited Partnership, No. 7011 (Alaska filed May 29, 2015) significantly alters the permitting process for projects within the jurisdiction of the...more

EPA Releases Draft Assessment of Effects of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water

The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has published a draft assessment based on the 2010 study requested by Congress into the possible effects caused by hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. Hydraulic...more

Recent Court of Appeals Decision Guts Force Majeure Clauses in Most Oil and Gas Leases

On March 31, 2015, the New York State Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the case of Walter R. Beardslee, et al. v. Inflection Energy, LLC, et al., interpreting the applicability of force majeure clauses to extend the...more

Fuchs Family Trust v. Parker Drilling Co., C.A. No. 9986-VCN (Del. Ch. Mar. 4, 2015) (Noble, V.C.)

In this memorandum opinion, the Court of Chancery denied a stockholder request for inspection of books and records pursuant to 8 Del. C. § 220 (“Section 220”). The Court held, among other things, that the requesting...more

Hydraulic Fracturing Moratorium Lifted in North Carolina

Last week, North Carolina became the 34th state to allow hydraulic fracturing. Years in the making, new rules developed by the state’s Mining and Energy Commission after receiving over 200,000 public comments went into effect...more

New Fracking Regulations on Disclosure and Disposal Could Cost Industry $32M Per Year

New regulations setting standards for hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, in oil and gas wells drilled on federal lands were issued recently by the Obama administration through the U.S. Department of the...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: Range Resources Case

On March 6, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court decided a case involving the duties owed to the non-executive holder of a nonparticipating royalty interest by both the executive rights holder and the lessee that negotiated the...more

District Court Rejects Claim to Aggregate Series of Compressor Stations

A federal judge in Pennsylvania recently denied an environmental group’s attempt to subject a driller’s gas compressor stations to stricter regulatory permitting. This decision provides reliable guidance for drillers on the...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: Shades of Sheppard?

In Wagner & Brown, Ltd. v. Sheppard, 282 S.W.3d 419 (Tex. 2008), the Texas Supreme Court held that the termination of Sheppard’s lease (Sheppard was the Lessor) did not terminate her participation in a unit into which her...more

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