Well Drilling

News & Analysis as of

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

The Early Bird Catches the Worm: A Lesson in Submitting Drilling Applications Early to Avoid Expiration of Federal Oil and Gas...

As many of you know, permitting delays are not only frustrating but can have real consequences for project applicants with contractual deadlines. In the case of a federal oil and gas lease, operators should be mindful of the...more

Pennsylvania and Ohio High Courts Issue Decisions Impacting Oil and Gas Operators

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Declines to Extend Primary Term of Oil and Gas Lease - In Wayne Harrison, et al. v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., Case No. 75 MAP 2014 (Pa. Feb. 17, 2015), the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania...more

Pennsylvania Governor Proposes Severance Tax

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has proposed a new state severance tax on natural gas drilling. The measure, which the governor introduced as a means to fund the state’s education system, would impose a 5 percent tax on the...more

Regulating Exploration on the Arctic OCS: U.S. Federal Regulators Propose Rules for Oil and Gas Exploratory Drilling on the Arctic...

In recent years, the energy industry has expressed significant interest in investigating submerged lands on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the Arctic for commercial quantities of oil and natural gas. The...more

The Shale Play Today - February 2015

In This Issue: - Now is the WOTUS of Our Discontent.....: "Waters of the United States" or "WOTUS" in the esoteric taxonomy of the Clean Water Act ("CWA"), is a term with which many are becoming increasingly...more

U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania Dismisses Majority of Water Well Contamination Claims Against Oil Drilling Company

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III in the Middle District of Pennsylvania completely adopted the “extremely thorough, well-reasoned” recommendations of a U.S. Magistrate Judge and dismissed almost all...more

Drilling Contracts – Avoiding Misunderstanding

Drilling contracts are at the core of upstream operational agreements. They come in many forms and are negotiated to varying degrees depending on the value of the contract, level of risk involved, and existence of regional...more

Court Will Not Halt Horizontal Drilling Operation to Reach Adjacent Lessee’s Land

Using offsite locations for horizontal drilling is becoming increasingly popular as surface use becomes difficult. In Lightning Oil Inc. v. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, the San Antonio Court of Appeals looked at what can...more

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

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Rail case heading to state Supreme Court: Willits News - Jan 27: The Supreme Court of California has accepted review of a lower court decision holding that federal law implemented by...more

Louisiana Denies Drilling-Related Permit in Scenic Waterway

Louisiana has denied a permit to an energy company seeking to use water from a state-designated scenic river for its drilling operations. The decision represents the first time in Louisiana’s history that a permit to draw...more

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

Louisiana Town Files Second Suit to Block Oil and Gas Well

The Town of Abita Springs filed a suit on December 1, 2014, seeking a declaratory judgment to block the drilling of an oil and gas well about 40 miles north of New Orleans into the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale. Earlier this year,...more

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

Illinois Drilling Rules Dodge First Blow in Latest Lawsuit

Illinois’ fledgling hydraulic fracturing industry avoided another delay last week. The rules, which adopt a regulatory framework to facilitate and regulate unconventional drilling, were finally published after over a year in...more

The Unintended Effects of Protecting the Environment – How Banning Fracking Can Lead San Benito County To Bankruptcy

On November 4, 2014, San Benito County voters went to the poles to vote on Measure J, the measure designed to prohibit hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, and related gas and oil extraction activities, as well as other...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - November 2014 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - Heat, drought worsen smog in California, stalling decades of progress: Los Angeles Times - Nov 10: Heat and extreme drought have worsened smog in California over the last year, stalling...more

The Shale Play Today - November 2014

In This Issue: - Latest Aboveground Storage Tank Act Developments: Interpretive Rule Adopted and Comments Filed on Draft Emergency Rule: On October 21, 2014, the West Virginia Department of Environmental...more

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