Back to Basics: Force Majeure

By Paul B. Westbrook and Shawna R. Rinehart Force Majeure Clause: A force majeure clause is a lease provision designed to protect a lessee against termination of the lease resulting from governmental actions, acts of God, and other circumstances beyond the lessee’s control. Force majeure clauses… Read more

Back to Basics: Continuous Drilling

By Paul B. Westbrook and Shawna R. Rinehart Continuous drilling clauses are very similar to, and often intertwined with, some of the savings clauses often included in leases (especially a commencement of operations clause and a cessation of production clause). One difference from a commencement of… Read more

Back to Basics: Cessation of Production

By Paul B. Westbrook and Shawna R. Rinehart Cessation of Production: A cessation of production savings clause is primarily intended to prevent termination of the lease immediately upon the cessation of production, whether during the primary term, secondary term, or both. Certainly, the most… Read more

Back to Basics: Savings Clauses

Savings Clauses Generally: A savings clause is any express lease provision that can be used to maintain the lease past its primary term in the absence of actual production on the lease premises. Where a dispute arises regarding the continuing validity of a lease, the plaintiff bears the burden of… Read more

EPA Declines to Amend RCRA Subtitle D Regulations

On April 23, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published Management of Exploration, Development and Production Wastes: Factors Informing a Decision on the Need for Regulatory Action. The document was drafted and published, in part, in response to a Consent Decree entered by the U.S.… Read more

PA Supreme Court to Review Trespass by Fracturing

On November 20, 2018, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania agreed to hear an appeal concerning the Pennsylvania Superior Court’s decision in a lawsuit that alleged trespass by hydraulic fracturing.  Specifically, the Pennsylvania Superior Court concluded that the “rule of capture does not preclude… Read more

Trump to Nominate Wheeler to Head EPA

On November 16, 2018, President Donald Trump announced that he intends to nominate U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to head the agency on a permanent basis.  If formally nominated, acting Administrator Wheeler’s nomination would be initially handled by the… Read more

Supreme Court Grants Temporary Relief to Denbury

On July 26, 2017, the Supreme Court of Texas granted Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas, LLC’s motion for temporary relief, ordering a district court to allow Denbury to complete federally-required inspections of the pipeline at issue. On July 12, 2017, Denbury had filed a petition for writ of mandamus… Read more

BLM to Rescind 2015 Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations

On July 25, 2017, the DOI Bureau of Land Management published “Oil and Gas: Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands: Rescission of a 2015 Rule” in the Federal Register. If finalized, the purposed rule would rescind BLM’s 2015 rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on certain public and… Read more

Environmental Groups Challenge TCEQ Permits

On July 20, 2017, four environmental groups filed five lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleging that EPA failed to prevent the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from granting improper major source permits under the Clean Air Act to several petroleum… Read more

Interior to Increase Oil and Gas Leasing

On July 6, 2017, U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed Order No. 3354, which is designed to ensure that DOI consistently holds quarterly oil and gas lease sales as required by the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920. Although the MLA requires quarterly lease sales “for each state… Read more

Trump to Nominate Two for FERC Openings

On June 28, 2017, the Trump Administration announced plans to nominate Richard Glick as a commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Glick currently serves as Democratic general counsel on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and would replace Democratic Commissioner… Read more

Dallas Court of Appeals Reverses $535 Million Verdict

On July 18, 2017, the Dallas Court of Appeals overturned a $535 million jury verdict related to breach of joint enterprise and breach of fiduciary duty causes of action. The plaintiff and defendant are pipeline companies that jointly investigated the economic feasibility of an oil pipeline that… Read more

Denbury Seeks Supreme Court Relief

On July 12, 2017, Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas, LLC filed a petition for writ of mandamus with the Texas Supreme Court, seeking immediate possession of a contested pipeline easement in Jefferson County, Texas. The District Court denied Denbury’s request for a temporary restraining order, finding… Read more

HFB Publishes Texas Supreme Court Update

On July 17, 2017, the American Oil and Gas Reporter published “Texas Supreme Court Decision Clarifies Surface Estate Rights,” a Harris, Finley & Bogle analysis of three recent Texas Supreme Court decisions, Lightning Oil, Forest Oil, and Red Deer Resources. In Lightning Oil, the Texas Supreme… Read more

BLM Postpones Waste Prevention Rule

On June 15, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, published a notice of postponement of compliance dates in the Federal Register for the final rule “Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation.” Immediately after BLM published the… Read more

EPA Files Suit Against Colorado Operator

On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed suit against a Colorado operator in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. Specifically, the suit alleges that the operator failed to ensure that vapor control systems on 86 batteries of storage tanks were sufficiently… Read more

EPA Proposes to Re-evaluate "Waters of the United States" Definition

On June 27, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a proposed rule for publication in the Federal Register that would rescind the current definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act and re-codify the pre-2015 definition… Read more