Title DisputesAs global energy demand has continued to grow year after year, Texas has been at the forefront of meeting that demand. There is not another state or region of the world that has been as intensely explored or drilled for oil and natural gas as Texas. As of January 2021, the Railroad Commission of Texas reports that there are 166,529 active oil wells and 84,668 active gas wells that produce oil and natural gas in Texas.

And as energy demand continues to grow globally, it is to be expected that more and more companies will engage in drilling activities in Texas’ resource rich formations, as well as other oil and natural gas states, to meet that demand. From this perspective, it is a practical inevitability that these exploration and production companies, pipeline companies, land owners and other parties involved, are going to have their interest’s conflict at some point.

When these conflicts escalate into full out legal disputes, it can involve high stakes for all parties – including the attorneys.  If you are handling a mineral rights dispute for an energy and production company, investor, landowner or other oil and gas entity, Peissel Law Firm can provide you with expert witness testimony backed by 14 years of oil and gas title examination and opinion rendering.

Mineral Rights Disputes

As you know, ownership of mineral rights in the United States does not necessarily belong to the surface owners. This severance can create numerous complications in determining who actually owns the oil, gas, or other minerals below the surface. Oftentimes, these rights are conveyed multiple times, and the chain of title can be filled with gaps. Further complicating matters, there is often difficulty accessing the relevant and necessary information due to small counties not having digital files.

The experienced title attorneys at Peissel Law Firm, have examined hundreds of mineral titles, with hundreds of owners, for almost two decades. We’ve worked with numerous energy and production companies of all sizes, helping them determine if they’ve acquired all the proper leases and finding defects in their titles that could lead to litigation.

We can provide expert opinions on a host of title related issues, including:

  • Joint ownership of oil and gas interests
  • Fractional royalty interests
  • Ambiguous conveyances
  • Calculation of royalty payments
  • Contractual disputes between lenders and borrowers
  • Contractual disputes between mineral rights owners and lessees
  • Damages and monetary recovery beyond the amount provided in lease agreements
  • Damages related to hydraulic fracturing and other drilling related disputes
  • Breaches of a lease
  • Lease termination and lease expiration
  • Wills and estates involving mineral rights
  • Surveying errors

Title Order Disputes

One of the most common title disputes that arises for exploration and production (E&P) companies is division order disputes. The accuracy of division orders is dependent on the drilling title opinion being accurate and comprehensive. Disputes can arise when a division order is based on an incomplete drilling title opinion and royalty payments are not calculated properly.

Disputes can also easily arise when the division order requirements are in conflict with the oil and gas lease. These disputes had become so contentious and common in Texas, that in 1991 the state legislature passed the Division Order Statute (Chapter 91, subchapter J of the Texas Natural Resources Code). Unfortunately, disputes involving division orders and modifications to leases continue to be an issue for both leaseholders and producers.

If your client is involved in a division order dispute, our attorneys can provide you with an expert opinion regarding the statutes and caselaw involving:

  • Division title order opinions
  • Drilling title opinions
  • Acquisition title opinions
  • Wellbore title opinions
  • Lending title opinions

Mineral Title Expert Witness

Managing partner John Peissel has obtained and reviewed thousands of mineral titles and produced hundreds of title opinions in all manner of complex title disputes, involving numerous entities. As the managing partner of the title opinion practice for seven years, Mr. Peissel has directed the firm’s focus on managing large quantities of data and oil and gas accounting. Mr. Peissel is Board Certified in Oil, Gas and Mineral Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is an active member in the Houston Association of Professional Landmen (HAPL) as well as the Permian Basin Landmen’s Association (PBLA). Through these oil and gas industry involvements, he stays current with changes to federal, state, and local regulations and other applicable news.

Whether you represent producers, landowners, mineral rights owners, investors, or other entities, we understand the value of mineral rights and the complicated process of establishing ownership – particularly in historic or active basins. Our attorneys are familiar with and have done work involving all major oil and gas formations, including the Permian Basin, Gulf Coast Basin, and Bakken Formation. Coupled with the firm’s long experience and concentrated focus on oil and gas title examinations and opinion rendering, we are confident in our ability to produce expert witness testimony that will help clarify and strengthen your litigation efforts.

Our attorneys are licensed to practice in the following states:

  • Texas
  • New Mexico
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma