Many Texas families and companies have been built on the back of oil and gas production. In Texas, mineral rights—the entitlement to explore and produce subsurface minerals, like oil and gas—can be separated from surface rights and sold, leased, gifted, split or otherwise conveyed relatively freely. The complexities of mineral rights leases were the focus of a recent $41 million judgment against EP Energy E&P Company, LP, a Texas oil and gas company. The case is Storey Minerals, Ltd., et al. v. EP Energy E&P Company, L.P., Case No. 001-36253, in the 81st Judicial District of La Salle, County, Texas.
Occidental Petroleum’s acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum was huge news in the oil and gas industry. The $38 billion sale was a two-year ordeal that pitted Occidental against energy giant Chevron in a bidding war. While many applauded Occidental for the acquisition, others weren’t so sure. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has filed a lawsuit seeking access to Occidental’s books and records relating to the Anadarko acquisition. Icahn alleges the acquisition “raises very real questions about competence” due to the hefty price tag.
The oil and gas industry is often considered the backbone of the Texas economy. As a state rich in resources, the fluctuations of the oil and gas industry are felt deeply, and an optimistic industry outlook is always welcome. Upswings in the oil and gas industry, however, are frequently accompanied by upswings in related litigation.