Texas Trial & Business Law Blog

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Expect Significant Rise in Oil and Gas Litigation in 2015

Fifty dollar a barrel oil may be a windfall to consumers, but it will certainly lead to a rise in oil and gas litigation, particularly lease-related litigation in areas such as the Eagle Ford Shale.  Expect an increase in litigation over audits and royalty payments by royalty owners alleging that they have been underpaid, landowners alleging violation of the surface protections contained in leases (as oil and gas companies cut costs on the drilling sites), landowner disputes over deed interpretation, fights over title rights and royalty payment claims and allegations of mishandling leases and breach of fiduciary duty particularly asserted against trustees.  In the Eagle Ford, the leases are generally more sophisticated and designed to protect the surface though leases like those have made their way to North Texas.  Presently, there is a major, multi-million dollar lawsuit against Pioneer Natural Resources pending in Montague County over violations of surface rights set for trial in April of this year.

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