Author: Ryan Lammert

Ryan represents oil and gas exploration and production companies, saltwater disposal operators, landowners, and electric cooperatives before multiple state agencies, including the Railroad Commission of Texas, the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and the State Office of Administrative Hearings. Ryan also assists clients with a wide range of oil and gas transactional matters, including lease negotiation, joint operating agreements, production sharing agreements, and farmout agreements. By understanding the interplay between administrative regulations and oil and gas law, he is able to provide sound, efficient, and effective legal advice.
31May

SCOTX Applies Discovery Rule to Breach of Pref Right Despite Disclosure in Deed Records

Carl M. Archer Tr. No. Three v. Tregellas, Nos. 17-0093, 17-0094, 2018 Tex. LEXIS 1153 (Tex. 2018)

Rights of first refusal (sometimes called preferential rights to purchase, or “pref rights”) are routinely found in oil and gas title, joint operating agreements, farmout agreements, and other instruments common to the industry. Even AAPL’s Model Form-610 Operating Agreement includes an optional pref right provision. Pref rights can destroy pending deals, or even unravel deals after they have already closed.

Oil and gas companies should exercise care in evaluating rights of first refusal burdening their interests or prospective interests, including analysis of the triggering conditions and notice provisions. Otherwise, as was recently illustrated in the Texas Supreme Court case, Carl M. Archer Tr. No. Three v. Tregellas, Nos. 17-0093 ~, 17-0094, 2018 Tex. LEXIS 1153 (Tex. 2018), limitations defense may not be available.

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30May

Ratification Issue Did Not Provide Path to Attorneys’ Fees

M & M Res., Inc. v. DSTJ, LLP, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 9331 (Tex.Civ.App.—Beaumont 2018, no pet.)

Plaintiffs in title disputes sometimes will allege a claim under the Declaratory Judgment Act in order to seek attorneys’ fees. In this case, the court held that the claim could only be asserted as a trespass to try title claim, where attorneys’ fees are not recoverable.

Here, an oil and gas company hired landmen to acquire oil and gas leases in Jefferson County. Landmen acquired 22 leases and assigned them to the oil and gas company using a form that included an overriding royalty reservation and a provision indicating the assignment would terminate upon any late royalty payments. The landmen allegedly recorded the assignment without giving the oil and company an opportunity to review or approve the form. Years later, the landmen claimed royalty payments were untimely and sought termination of the assignment. The landmen claimed that, even though the oil and gas company had not reviewed or accepted the assignment, it ratified the assignment by its conduct.

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17May

Texas Supreme Court Denies Review on Rolling/Snapshot Retained Acreage Case

Apache Deepwater, LLC v. Double Eagle Dev., LLC, 557 S.W.3d 650 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2017, pet. denied Dec. 14, 2018)

Retained acreage provisions continue to be a popular subject in Texas oil and gas law. The Texas Supreme Court recently denied a petition for review in the closely-watched case, Apache v. Double Eagle. In that case, the parties disagreed as to whether a retained acreage clause provided for a single partial termination at the end of the primary term (i.e., a “snapshot-in-time” termination), or a continuous partial release throughout the secondary term (i.e., “rolling termination”). This case bolsters the old adage: “say what you mean and mean what you say.” Texas courts will not fill in the blank otherwise.

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