This is a condemnation case from Comanche County, Texas. In January 2013, the Railroad Commission of Texas designated BridgeTex as a common carrier and granted it a T-4 permit. BridgeTex condemned an easement across Saner’s land and constructed a pipeline to transport crude petroleum from the Permian Basin to the Texas Gulf Coast. Both the special commissioners and the trial court determined that the easement was for public use, and Saner now challenges the trial court’s finding. The Eastland Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment. Read More »
This is a deed interpretation case out ofthe San Antonio Court of Appeals, arisingfrom the 218th Judicial District Court of Karnes County, Texas.
In 1991, the Harrells executed a warranty deed (“1991 Deed”) that conveyed approximately 10 acres of land to the Dragons. The 1991 Deed was subject to prior reservations and it contained the following new reservation by the Harrells:
Texas Supreme Court to Determine Whether Accommodation Doctrine Applies to Severed Groundwater Estate
The Texas Supreme Court recently granted Coyote Lake Ranch’s petition to review an opinion by the Amarillo Court of Appeals in Lubbock v. Coyote Lake Ranch, holding that the “Accommodation Doctrine” does not apply to the relationship between a surface owner and the owner of a severed groundwater estate. In the context of a severed mineral estate, the Accommodation Doctrine requires that the owner of a severed mineral estate accommodate pre-existing surface uses in certain circumstances.
By granting Coyote Lake Ranch’s petition to review, the Texas Supreme Court will have the opportunity to address whether this doctrine also applies to a severed groundwater estate. The decision in this case could potentially answer an important question regarding conflicts between groundwater production activities and existing surface uses. With the oil and gas industry dealing with sub-$50 oil prices, and the public’s increasing awareness of the importance of water, the Supreme Court’s holding in this case will have significant implications to the development of groundwater in Texas. As Texas A&M University School of Law professor Gabriel Eckstein told Law 360, this case “has big implications, some of which we can’t even imagine yet.”
Texas Court: Lessee May Not Exclude Other Lessees from Constructing Surface Facilities Or Drilling Through Mineral Estate
The San Antonio Court of Appeals, in Lightning Oil Co. v. Anadarko E&P Onshore, LLC,  Opinion not yet published, San Antonio Court of Appeals (4th Dist.), August 19, 2014. held that a Texas oil and gas lease does not inherently convey a right for the lessee to control the “subterranean structures” from which hydrocarbons may be produced. As a result, the court held that the mineral lessee of a severed mineral estate did not have the right to exclude third-parties from constructing surface facilities on the surface overlying the lessee’s mineral estate and/or exclude third-parties from drilling wells through (but was not producing from) the lessee’s mineral estate. The Lightning court identified the “central question” as being the nature of Lightning Oil Co.’s (“Lightning”) interest as a mineral lessee. After reviewing cases from its own court and the Texas Supreme Court, among others, the Lightning court concluded that the surface estate owner, not the mineral estate owner, controls the earth beneath the surface estate. Read More »
|1.||↑||Opinion not yet published, San Antonio Court of Appeals (4th Dist.), August 19, 2014.|
Texas Case Law Update: On August 5, 2015, the San Antonio Court of Appeals released its opinion in ConocoPhillips Company v. Vaquillas Unproven Minerals, Ltd.,  No. 04-15-00066-CV (San Antonio – August 5, 2015). affirming the trial court’s order declaring ConocoPhillips breached two oil and gas leases in Webb County by failing to release all acreage in excess of 40 acres for each producing and shut-in natural gas well capable of producing in paying quantities. As a result, ConocoPhillips was ordered to release an additional 15,351 acres. The issue on appeal was whether the retained acreage clauses allowed ConocoPhillips to retain 40 acres per gas well or 640 acres per gas well.
This case illustrates how appellate courts can interpret acreage perpetuation and release language in a lease in conjunction with regulatory rules. As such, this case underscores the importance of lease language that references regulatory rules, which may provide for spacing or proration units of a greater or smaller size than the default acreage provided within the lease.
|1.||↑||No. 04-15-00066-CV (San Antonio – August 5, 2015).|
In Anderson Energy Corp. v. Dominion Oklahoma Texas Exploration & Prod., Inc.,  04-14-00170-CV, 2015 WL 3956212 (Tex. App.—San Antonio June 30, 2015, no. pet. h.) the San Antonio Court of Appeals answered the following questions involving a 1977 AAPL JOA, with a printed Pref Right, and a typewritten AMI:
- Whether the AMI and Pref Right clauses covered interests acquired after execution of the JOA, based largely on the extent of the “Contract Area;”
- The Term of the JOA where the parties failed to select one of the printed options;
- Whether the above claims were precluded by the Statute of Frauds; and
- Whether the affirmative defenses of waiver or laches precluded the plaintiff’s claims described above.
|1.||↑||04-14-00170-CV, 2015 WL 3956212 (Tex. App.—San Antonio June 30, 2015, no. pet. h.)|
Purpose and Application of Mineral Liens
Everyone in the construction industry is intimately familiar with the “Mechanic’s Lien,” which gives a security interest in the title to real property (and sometimes personal property) to those who have supplied materials or labor to improve the property. In some jurisdictions, the liens are broken down further into sub-groups, such as the the “Materialman’s Lien,” “Construction Lien,” “Supplier’s Lien,” or “Laborer’s Lien.” But one lesser known type of lien can be crucial to oilfield service companies in collecting on debts owed to them: the Mineral Lien.
Liens are similar to a sort of mortgage or deed of trust on the property, acting like a cloud on title, and having the effect of hooking the owner into paying you for your services or labor before selling, financing, or refinancing the property. Mineral Liens were designed specifically for companies like oilfield service companies, to give them an easier route to collecting their debts, and receiving money rightfully owed to them. Read More »
Probate is the process of validating a will and thereafter administering the estate of a deceased person according to the will’s terms. There are different probate law attorneys all over the world, for example, there are Texas Probate Law firms as well as this probate attorney Tampa too! As title attorneys and landmen often see, people frequently fail to offer Wills for probate. Perhaps the existence of a Will is discovered in an affidavit of heirship, or a recital in a later instrument. Perhaps the reason the parties failed to offer the Will was they didn’t realize they needed to do so, or perhaps it was because the will could not be found. As we’ll discuss in this article, the discovery of an unprobated will requires landmen and title attorneys to perform a certain level of due diligence, and the reason the parties failed to offer the Will for probate will have a substantial effect. Read More »
Landmen and attorneys frequently find churches and other religious institutions within their chains of title, either as current or past holders of record title. These religious institutions are often conveyed valuable mineral or royalty interests, either through an unsevered estate, or more directly through a severed mineral or royalty interest. Therefore, it is crucial that landmen and attorneys understand the legal frameworks regarding church ownership of real property when engaging in leasing, conveyancing, or otherwise examining title. It’s important for them also, to Compare Conveyancing Quotes to obide with the legal framework.
Unfortunately, the applicable legal frameworks can be somewhat complex and confusing. This is likely due to the inherent conflict between constitutional law and property law. On one hand, the constitution requires that courts defer to the religious institutions, so as to refrain from becoming too entangled with the establishment or free exercise of religion. This means that courts must exercise certain levels of deference to religious institutions regarding their internal beliefs or rulings as to which branches, levels, parish or other type of sub-entity has the rights of ownership and authority over church property. However, on the other hand, courts must also rule on property disputes. This jurisprudencial battle is outside the scope of this article, but it should provide some direction in understanding goal behind the various frameworks that have developed for analyzing church property ownership and conveyancing disputes.
Generally, the topic can be divided into two subissues: (1) whether the status of the entity is such that, in the relevant time period, it could legally hold title to real property in its own name rather than a trustee, and (2) which persons or entities within the church organizational structure technically hold title to the real property. Understanding these issues, and the applicable legal frameworks, are crucial to effectively handling oil and gas title, leasing, and royalty payout.