Environmental and Energy Law Blog

Thursday, July 19, 2018

What is the Texas Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Act?

Oil drilling operations can expose operators to liability for a number of issues, including personal injury, property damage, pollution, and other damages. One way in which parties mitigate these risks is the inclusion of an indemnity clause in their drilling contracts. An indemnity clause is a contractual transfer of risk between parties to either prevent loss or compensate for a loss which might occur due to a specified event. In Texas, such clauses are limited by a law called the Texas Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Act. Below is an overview of the Act.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Seismic and Technical Data Licensing Agreements in Texas

Seismic surveys are used to produce detailed images of different rock types and their locations beneath the surface. These types of surveys are typically used by oil and gas companies to determine the location and size of oil and gas reservoirs. The process involves bouncing and recording sound waves off of underground rock formations. By analyzing the time that the waves take to return to the surface, surveyors are able to glean valuable information about rock types and the availability of gases or fluids underground. Below is an overview of the agreements used to facilitate this process in Texas.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Texas Oil and Gas Drilling Surface Use Agreements

In Texas, mineral estates are dominant over surface estates. Therefore, the owner of a mineral estate can freely use the surface estate for the exploration, development, and production of the gas and oil beneath the property. This right to use the surface estate may be exercised by a lessee who has taken a mineral lease from the mineral estate's actual owner. And because a lessee may use the surface without restoring it or paying for non-negligent damage, surface owners often acquire what is known as a surface use agreement that restricts the use of the surface or establishes damages. Below is an overview of surface use agreements in Texas.

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Monday, May 28, 2018

Surface and Mineral Estates in Texas

One’s rights regarding oil and gas exploration in Texas are primarily dictated by two distinct sets of property rights—the surface estate and the mineral estate. While these two estates are often owned by the same person in the case of a single piece of property, it is common in many areas of Texas for a mineral estate and surface estate to be owned by different people. This severance of the mineral estate and surface estate occurs when a property owner sells the surface and keeps the minerals. However, if a property owner fails to explicitly limit the transfer of ownership to the surface estate or retain the minerals when selling the surface, then the mineral estate will automatically be included in the sale.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Oil and Gas Law Basics

Oil and gas laws in the United States address issues involving the acquisition and ownership of oil and gas. These laws commonly affect those who lease the rights to drill for and produce these substances. Below is an overview of some of the legal issues affecting the acquisition and ownership of oil and gas in the United States.

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Oil Prices Continue to Advance

This blog recently reported how the Texas oil and gas economy continues to thrive, buoyed by increased production and favorable pricing. Presently, crude oil prices are at the highest level since late 2014. Analysts attribute the price increase to declining US crude inventories and OPEC attempts to push prices higher through production cutbacks. While there is some debate as to whether prices will continue on this trajectory, navigating such market fluctuations requires the advice and counsel of requires the advice and counsel of an experienced energy sector attorney.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Texas Oil and Gas Economy on the Rise

As oil and gas producers maximize the benefits of advanced drilling techniques such as hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and horizontal drilling and take advantage of favorable pricing, the oil and gas economy in Texas is making impressive gains, driven largely by upstream production. While this presents opportunities to producers and investors alike, successfully navigating the current economic landscape often requires the advice and guidance of an experienced energy industry attorney.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Texas Leads the Nation in Clean Water Act Violations

According to a new report by Environment Texas, an environmental advocacy group, Texas leads the nation in violations of the Clean Water Act. The report found that over a 21-month period from January 2016 to September 2017, major industrial facilities in the state released pollution that exceeded levels allowed under Clean Water Act (CWA) permits 938 times. By comparison, Pennsylvania was second on the list with more than 600 exceedances. If your business has been cited for CWA violation, it is essential to enlist the services of an experienced health, safety and environmental attorney.

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Monday, March 26, 2018

Texas Supreme Court ruled on March 23 that coating manufacturer should proceed with its appeal of TCEQ Emission Credits decision

The Texas Supreme Court ruled on March 23 that coating manufacturer AC Interests LP should be allowed to proceed with its appeal TCEQ decision, saying that the law left the consequences of delay ambiguous. The majority found that, since the TCAA did not spell out how to interpret the time limit for providing notice, the proper interpretation is the time limits are directory and not mandatory. That is, the suit should not be dismissed even if notice was served late.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

TCEQ Nearing Decision on Dripping Springs’ Wastewater Discharge Permit

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is slated to render its final decision on the city of Dripping Springs’ proposed wastewater discharge permit. One factor that may weigh in this decision is a recent, unrelated dye-trace study of the effect on the drinking water and inhabitant species in the Onion Creek area. The opposition from environmental advocates and community residents highlights how resolving such controversies requires the advice and guidance of health, safety, and environmental attorneys.

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Monday, February 26, 2018

In Focus: Mineral Rights and Property Rights

Advances in horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing and other oil and gas extraction techniques have contributed to an energy boom in Texas. At the same time, questions over mineral rights and property rights have become hot button issues. When landowners and mineral rights owners are involved in disputes, it is essential to have the advice of an experienced energy contracts attorney.

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