Interpretation of Mineral Deed to Grant Mineral Interest Despite “Lease-like” Language

In Richardson v. Mills, No. 12-15-00170-CV, 2016 App. LEXIS 7316 (Tex. Civ. App. - Tyler, July 12, 2016) the Court of Appeals concluded that an instrument that used the word "forever" in the habendum and warranty clauses was not a mineral lease, but was an unambiguous mineral deed. Although the instrument included consideration for future services, it lacked any implied covenant for development. The dispute in Richardson arose from the interpretation of a 1906 instrument, which pertained to the minerals under property in Nacogdoches County. Appellees, Donald Roger Miller, Rhonda Mills, and Beverly Mills Pool (collectively, the "Mills"), owned an undivided one-half interest in the oil, gas, and other mineral described in the 1906 instrument. After receiving royalty payments for many years, the payments stopped in October 2010 and Mills filed suit against Appellants, Robert Lindsey and June C. Harris (collectively "Lindsey") to resume the royalty payments. The trial court concluded…
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New Lease or Top Lease? Lessor’s Intent Will Govern

In Anadarko Petroleum Corp. v. TRO-X, L.P., No. 08-15-00158-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 2861, the El Paso Court of Appeals concluded that the execution of new leases operated to terminate and release old leases covering the same lands. Id., at *22. The Court recognized that there was not enough evidence to show (i) that the Lessors placed any emphasis on the execution of a separate release of the old leases to make the new leases effective, or (ii) that the Lessors intended for the new leases to be top leases that would come into effect only upon the recordation of a Release Agreement. Id., at *21-22. In February 2007, David E. Cooper, Hill-Cooper, Ltd., Richard W. Cooper, Kendall C. Hill, and Shirley Cooper (the "Lessors") executed five oil and gas leases in favor of TRO-X, as Lessee (the "2007 Leases"). Id., at *2. The 2007 Leases contained an Off-Set Well…
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Washout of Production Payments Upon Expiration of the Underlying Leasehold

The Texas Supreme Court, in Apache Deepwater, LLC v. McDaniel Partners, Ltd., No. 14-0546, 2016 Tex. LEXIS 179 (February 26, 2016), addressed the issue of the calculation of production payments reserved in the assignment of four oil and gas leaseholds, and whether, after two of the leases terminated, the production payment should be adjusted to reflect the loss of the two leaseholds. The dispute in Apache Deepwater centered on the interpretation of a production payment reserved in the assignment of four oil and gas leases. Id., at *1-2. In 1953, Hugh W. Ferguson, Jr. ("Ferguson") assigned to L.H. Tyson ("Tyson") four oil and gas leases that Ferguson owned in Upton County, Texas. Id., at *2. The assignment reserved to Ferguson a one-sixteenth (1/16) production payment, which it described as "1/16th of 35/64ths of 7/8ths, being one-sixteenth of the entire interest in the production from said lands to which Assignor claims to be entitled under the…
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