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Understanding Adverse Possession: Part Three

As we determined in Part Two of this series, once the surface and mineral estates in a tract of land have been severed, possession of the surface will not suffice to adversely possess the mineral estate. How, then, would a party possess a separate mineral estate? Certain factors considered to determine possession of the surface, such as enclosure by fence or notorious possession, would be difficult...
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Understanding Adverse Possession: Part Two

In our second installment of “Understanding Adverse Possession,” we examine how timing affects claims of adverse possession: what is the difference between adversely possessing prior to severance, versus after severance has occurred?  Possession Before Severance  If suspected adverse possession takes place before an act of mineral severance, the use and possession of the surface alone for the relevant statutory period is sufficient to establish the claim as to the entirety of both the surface...
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Production in Paying Quantities in Texas

The price of oil crashed and remained depressed through the first half of 2020. Operators were foreseeable victims of this price action, but lessors were also affected, and many experienced a reduction in royalties received from production. Lessors distressed by lower payments may seek to cancel a lease by claiming that the lessee has failed to produce in paying quantities and maintain the lease past its primary term.  In this context, it is especially important...
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Texas’ First Purchaser Statute Only Has Teeth in Texas

This year, global oil markets experienced a significant surplus of supply over demand for oil, near-record domestic production and a global demand shock brought forth by the coronavirus containment measures. The imbalance between a surplus supply of oil and a historic destruction in demand for oil during the beginning of the year caused the price of WTI crude oil to drop to an historic low of –$37.63 per barrel on April 20, 2020.   Producers, especially those in the U.S., reacted...
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Inactive Wells: Will You Be Left Holding the Bag?

Non-operators may be left holding the bag when it comes to inactive wells. In some cases where an operator files for bankruptcy, Texas law states that non-operators may be responsible for plugging an inactive well.  Failure to comply with this mandate carries a litany of consequences from the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC). Inactive and abandoned wells are governed by Texas Natural Resources Code, Title 16, Part 1, Chapter 3 of the Texas Administrative Code and overseen and enforced by the RRC.  The...
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Save American Vital Energy Jobs Act

On June 23, 2020, United States Senator for Texas, John Cornyn, introduced the SAVE Jobs Act, to assist the American energy sector in retaining jobs during the challenging economic times that have followed the shutdowns caused by COVID-19. Save American Vital Energy Jobs Act, S. 4041, 116th Cong. (2019-2020). The bill aims to provide administrative clarity and short-term regulatory relief to the American energy sector in a time of economic...
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Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Paid Sick Leave

One of the Federal Government’s responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic was the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA is a response to the growing need to support families with wage earners who have been affected by the virus, whether directly or through their responsibility for a family member or child affected by COVID-19. The FFCRA requires certain public employers as well as private employers with fewer than 500 employees to extend paid sick leave or expanded family...
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Bankruptcy Protection Tailored for Small Businesses

The Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (SBRA), effective as of February 19, 2020, was enacted to provide Main Street business debtors with a more streamlined path for restructuring their debts. In response to the economic distress caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136)...
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