The growth of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and use of natural gas found in shale is a growing concern in Texas law. It has led to energy independence and prosperity for Texas and Texans. While controversies abound, the hydraulic fracturing boom is not going away anytime soon. Oil and gas litigation is always complex, and individuals or Houston businesses facing a shale and fracking dispute need an experienced attorney.
There have been many technological advances in the oil and gas industry, but few have been as influential as hydraulic fracturing. Fracking has made extracting natural gas from the earth more efficient and expedient, but it is a complicated process governed by many state and federal regulations. The law has struggled to keep up with the explosive growth of oil and gas production. The issues that may arise are many: chain of title issues, incorrect legal descriptions, condemnation, and subsurface trespass, contractual and regulatory compliance.
At Burford Perry LLP, our partners have extensive experience in oil field litigation, including matters involving shale and fracturing. Our attorneys have represented international oil and gas companies such as ConocoPhillips and a variety of oil and gas field services companies. We have represented landowners and mineral interest owners in their legal disputes. This makes us uniquely qualified to aggressively pursue all shale and fracturing claims for our clients.
Fracking is an innovative way to access natural gas or oil trapped within a rock called shale. Shale is a fine-grained rock composed of other minerals like quartz and calcite and organic materials. In some areas, naturally occurring gas or oil is trapped inside layers of shale underground. Fracking is the process of forcing the natural gas or oil out by pumping a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the shale layer. The mixture causes tiny fissures in the shale, which releases natural gas that can then be extracted from the well.
Fracking is a controversial process because it has the potential to cause water and soil contamination. Fracking requires the use of powerful and volatile chemicals that can cause serious injuries and affect property values. When contamination occurs, landowners suffer physically and financially from a reduction in property values, damage to the property, and loss of the ability to use the property. Property damage as a result of fracking and related drilling activities is a major concern among residents in fracking areas. Leaking well casings, fluid spills, and poor disposal practices for used fluid can pollute property and groundwater. Contamination often leads to costly litigation that will require a skilled shale and fracturing attorney to resolve.
In addition to contamination disputes, energy companies who engage in fracking are also at risk for facing other types of oil and gas disputes including royalty disputes, breaches of contract, lease disputes, and drilling disputes, among others. Because of the vast amount of time and money invested in fracking, small issues can easily rise to heated disputes without the help of experienced oil and gas attorneys.
In the state of Texas, all oil and gas companies must report certain information to the public upon successfully extracting natural gas or oil from fracking. Within 60 days of completing a fracking operation, companies must report the exact chemicals used, the source of the natural gas, and the amount of water used. Adhering to reporting regulations is important because companies who violate reporting requirements face hefty fines and could be the subject of costly litigation.
There is no shortage of complicated issues when dealing with the oil and gas industry. Companies deal with a web of strict local, state, and federal regulations, and often require the help of other parties like construction contractors, transportation companies, landowners, pipeline and storage companies, and government agencies. With so many interested parties, disputes require the help of an experienced shale and fracturing dispute lawyer.
Winning these disputes is difficult and expensive. Contrary to conventional wisdom, parties have to be prepared to prove every element of their claim in order to succeed. For those with a fracking dispute, only an experienced shale and fracturing attorney can protect your interests.
Shale and fracturing disputes are highly technical, but the experienced attorneys at Burford Perry LLP know how to handle oil and gas litigation. With over 55 years of combined experience, our attorneys have achieved big wins for our clients both in court and in negotiations and arbitrations.