Combined, Texas and North Dakota produce almost exactly half of the crude oil here in the U.S., with the Eagle Ford Shale and Permian basin in Texas seeing incredible production, seeing 32,000 barrels per day, on a monthly average according to this Dallas Business Journal article online. In fact, Texas “dominates not only the United States but the world in oil production with 26 percent of all the rigs on Earth in the Lone Star state.” What this means for area residents, at least legally, can be somewhat complicated, and many of the landowners are finding themselves in need of a San Antonio oil and gas lawyer to represent their interests in the face of expanding operations in their area.
Fracking companies and oil extraction corporations have been buying up land in the Permian Basin where the Eagle Ford Shale is showing increasing output. But that means one thing for U.S. oil production rates and quite another for property owners in the area. Making savvy lease agreements with energy companies can necessitate sophistication and even require the use of a San Antonio oil and gas lawyer to ensure that the “contractual provisions for royalty payments, drilling commitments, depth and acreage service, indemnity and insurance requirement and highly detailed surface use restrictions” are being handled in a way that protects the landowner.
Michael R. Hancock, is one such San Antonio oil and gas lawyer in the Eagle Ford Shale region who can speak to the potential conflicts between landowners and energy companies. The payouts for the pipeline easements having increased significantly since 2008, indicating that landowners have learned both through past experience and through documentation of court decisions about the best ways to stay out of court and maximize the profitability of their landholdings. Energy companies, too, are responding by paying out more for the rights to use, wanting to avoid litigation by a San Antonio oil and gas lawyer well-versed in local practices and legal statutes of the industry.
The boom has come with some problems, though, say attorneys like Hancock. Whether it’s the influx of illegal drugs and crime that are flooding the area with the unimaginably rapid population growth, the way that worker safety in the field is sometimes dubiously observed, at best, or the fact that family disputes among land ownership in the oil-rich area is becoming more common—it’s clear that the underside of the shale boom is a complicated one.
Most recently gaining attention is the way old family feuds have been surfacing with relatives laying claim to the land holdings based on old deeds or lack of understanding in the differences in conveyance of the land’s “surface and mineral matters.” San Antonio area courtrooms have seen more property disputes around control and ownership of land on the Eagle Ford Shale in recent years, with the fights getting pretty nasty, according to some of the lawyers involved. Most all of South Texas is irreversibly affected by the Eagle Ford Shale boom, while the landowners are doing their best to make the most of it.