Vermillion FC, LLC v. 1776 Energy Partners

November 15, 2021 — In Vermillion FC, LLC v. 1776 Energy Partners, the Court of Appeals of San Antonio determined the extent to which a retained acreage clause in an oil and gas lease was modified by a “notwithstanding the above” reference to “governmental authority.”[1]  Specifically, under the terms of the lease the parties agreed to abide by the applicable field rules for designating how much acreage would be retained.  The Eagleville (Eagle Ford-1) Field Rules in turn incorporated by reference portions of Statewide Rule 86, which allows for additional “tolerance” acreage to be retained.[2]  In essence, the dispute in…
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Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Ratification by Acceptance of Royalties?

In BPX Operating Co. v. Strickhausen, 2021 Tex. LEXIS 468, the Texas Supreme Court determined that there was insufficient evidence to support a finding that a lessor had impliedly ratified an unauthorized pooling agreement by depositing royalty checks that had been calculated on a pooled basis.  To make this determination, the Court considered the totality of the lessor’s actions and whether, considered objectively, they provided clear evidence of implied ratification as a matter of law. Margaret Strickhausen (“Strickhausen”) owned a fifty percent mineral interest in a tract of land in La Salle, County.  The other fifty percent of the mineral…
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Supreme Court of Montana Ruling Roars that Dinosaur Fossils are not “Minerals”

This case has its origins in the Cretaceous period, which dates to over 65 million years ago.  The fossilized remains of several dinosaurs were recently discovered on a present-day ranch in Garfield County, Montana, and the rarity and value of the fossils inevitably led to a dispute as to the rightful owner of these unique discoveries.  Before Murray v. BEJ Minerals, LLC, 464 P.3d 80 (Mont. 2020), the Montana courts had not ruled on whether fossils belonged to the mineral estate or the surface estate when the minerals were severed, and the subject mineral deed did not specifically reserve the…
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