Day 1 | Thursday, September 12, 2013

7:45 Conference Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:45 Co-Chairs’ Opening Remarks

Tyler Mercer
Senior Counsel – Refining & Procurement
Valero Energy Corp. (San Antonio, TX)

Kevin O’Neal
Senior Counsel – Litigation
Chevron Upstream Global Oil & Gas (Houston, TX)

9:00 Bolstering Defense Strategies in Lease Termination Suits

Stephen Crain
Bracewell & Giuliani LLP (Houston, TX)

R. Mark Oliver
Brown Pruitt Wambsganss Ferrill & Dean, P.C. (Fort Worth, TX)

Dick Watt
Watt Beckworth Thompson & Henneman LLP (Houston,TX)

  • Determining title: who owns the mineral interest?
    • Is there a valid, existing, binding lease?
  • Thwarting the landowners attempt to re-lease land
  • Challenging reasons to terminate a lease
    • Failure to produce in pay quantities
    • Commencement
    • Ingress and egress
  • Defeating the “failure to commence” argument
  • Understanding the Pugh clause and similar provisions in other states
    • Shallow vs. deep rights
    • Lease expiration in different strata than the one that is producing
  • Utilizing “pay-to-delay” to defeat lease termination
  • Defending against implied covenant termination suits
  • Invoking the pooling argument to extend the primary term of a lease-
    • Avoiding improper pooling
    • What is the effect of pooling on the primary term of a lease?
  • Comprehending the effect of lease terminations on pooled interest owners

10:00 Morning Coffee Break

10:15 Spotlight Keynote: The Judicial Perspective on Trying “Traditional” Oil and Gas Cases: Lease Terminations, Royalty Disputes, Conflicts over JOAs, Environmental Contamination, and More

The Honorable Dennis A. Graham
Appellate Judge
Colorado Court of Appeals (Denver, CO)

11:00 Minimizing Liability in Disputes over Water and Surface Rights Arising from Horizontal Drilling Activities

Shannon Ratliff
Ratliff Law Firm (Austin, TX)

John J. Harris
Dentons US LLP (Los Angeles, CA)

Jason Newman
Baker Botts LLP (Houston, TX)

Robert P. Thibault
Perkins Coie LLP (Denver, CO)

  • Using the Coastal Oil and Gas v. Garza decision to defeat claims of trespass arising from hydraulic fracturing operations
  • Ensuring agreements allow for surface use related to horizontal wells
    • Forced pooling
  • Evaluating the impact of shale play developments on private land well permitting
    • Difficulty in obtaining a permit to put a private well on private lands
  • Determining how mineral interest owners will establish entitlement to their share of production through apportionment or production sharing agreements
  • Understanding how to apply allocation well permits
  • Circumventing permission of the mineral interest owner through state regulatory approval
  • Obtaining water rights from neighboring landowners

12:15 Networking Lunch for Speakers and Delegates

1:30 Litigating Royalty Disputes: Crafting Defense Strategies for Cases with Unsettled and Conflicting Laws

Guy Stanford Lipe
Vinson & Elkins LLP (Houston, TX)

David Patrón
Phelps Dunbar LLP (New Orleans, LA)

  • Defining “reasonable amount” when defending against challenges to post-production costs deductions in royalty calculations
  • Determining the proper valuation point of the product
    • What impact has horizontal drilling had on valuation?
  • Mitigating the impact of “no deduction” clauses
    • “At the well” vs. downstream
  • Understanding the impact of the “marketable condition rule”
    • Which states follow this doctrine?
    • Can producers reduce gas values for gathering, compression, and processing costs?
  • What impact will Walmart v. Dukes will have on royalty class actions?
  • Resolving issues with state agencies and royalty owners

2:30 Afternoon Coffee Break

2:45 In-House Panel: Complex Litigation Challenges and Strategies

Jordan S. Benningfield
Noble Energy, Inc. (Houston, TX)

Reagan E. Bradford
Deputy General Counsel
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (Oklahoma City, OK)

Linda Cook
Senior Attorney
Continental Resources, Inc. (Oklahoma City, OK)

Tyler Mercer
Senior Counsel – Refining & Procurement
Valero Energy Corp. (San Antonio, TX)

Kevin O’Neal
Senior Counsel – Litigation
Chevron Upstream Global Oil & Gas (Houston, TX)

Amy Poulson
Assistant General Counsel
Savage Services, Inc. (Salt Lake City, UT)

Stacy S. Russell
Assistant General Counsel
Halliburton Company (Houston, TX)

  • Selecting outside counsel: ensuring your trial team is on your page
    • Effectively conveying company procedures and policies to outside counsel
    • Avoiding billing “surprises” by implementing a trial management plan
    • Maintaining control: supervising the decision making process for selecting experts
  • Monitoring outside counsel to ensure that corporate image and message is consistent with litigation strategy
  • Drilling in the post-Macondo world: understanding new regulatory requirements and exposure to criminal liability
    • NGO litigation and intervenor actions
  • Weighing the costs and benefits of whether or not to arbitrate a dispute
  • Adapting the litigation risk profile in light of newly promulgated anti-indemnity clauses
  • Understanding the logistics issues surrounding eminent domain/condemnation actions arising from pipeline infrastructure
    • How can you get more oil?
  • Protecting company information in the social media world
    • How does social media impact litigation?

4:15 Litigation Update on Recent Court Decisions Resolving Issues under Oil and Gas Industry Contracts

Mark D. Christiansen
Co-Leader of Energy and Oil & Gas Industry Practice Group
McAfee & Taft (Oklahoma City, OK)

Disagreements over the meaning, performance and obligations owing under particular contracts represent what is likely the most frequent area for disputes and litigation among participants in the energy industry. This session will review some of the most interesting lawsuits and court rulings of recent years involving a variety of commonly-encountered forms of industry contracts. The contract principles applied by the court in each of those cases often create precedents that impact other types of agreements. The cases discussed will include the following types of industry agreements:

  • Operating Agreement
  • Asset Purchase and Sale Agreements
  • Farmouts and Exploration Agreements
  • Area of Mutual Interest Agreements
  • Contracts for the Purchase and Sale of Oil or Natural Gas
  • Industry Service Agreements
  • Other Types of Oil and Natural Gas Industry Contracts

5:15 Conference Concludes