Few would have predicted that a company’s inability to complete a Texas to California rail line in the late 1880’s would result in the creation of one of the oil and gas industry’s most valuable assets. The Texas Pacific Land Trust (TPL) was established in 1888 following the Texas and Pacific Railway Company’s failure and subsequent bankruptcy. The railway’s over 3.5 million acres of land were deeded into the TPL as part of the bankruptcy. The TPL sold much of this land over time, but its remaining 900,000 acres are mostly situated in the Permian Basin — one of the most oil rich basins in the country.
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.