Recent Litigation and Court Cases Affecting the Oil and Gas Upstream Business


This paper will focus on recent legal developments in the courthouse, legislation and regulatory bodies in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry. It will also address the author’s sense of what the future portends for legal purposes in this sector of the oil and gas industry.

It's Boom Time in the Oil Patch

The latest boom in the oil and gas industry is being experienced on a national scale. Many of the geographical areas now in the throes of the exploration and production of oil and gas reserves have a limited historical frame of reference, if any. The legal and regulatory infrastructure is patchwork thin in many of the numerous shale developments across the country. If I were a cynic, the “litigator’s prayer” (for strife amongst the people) has been answered: boom times have produced a bumper crop of courthouse and regulatory tussles, which seem only to gain momentum and numerosity with every passing month. Texas is no stranger to private litigation between and among the various interested parties, and yes even with the federal regulators, EPA being the most frequent antagonist.

Numerous states are now hosting shale plays (oil and/or gas) including at last count 20 states: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, North Dakota, Michigan, South Dakota, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, California. Each of these states is involved in regulatory overhauls at varying levels, as well as re-examining statutory and case law jurisprudence covering a wide variety of topics. Adding to this mix the plethora of federal agencies promises a drawn-out regulatory scrum between the state and federal agencies and environmentalists which will play itself out in multiple forums, including local governments, state and national legislatures, as well as state and federal courthouses.

Presented at the North American Petroleum Accounting Conference on May 16, 2013. To read the full paper, click on the PDF linked below.

PDF - Court-Cases-Oil-and-Gas-Upstream.pdf

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