The Eagle Ford shale in south Texas is one of the latest oil and gas hotspots. Estimates predict that billions of dollars of oil and gas will be produced from this very thick layer of rock. Production has almost quadrupled for natural gas, and oil has increased tenfold in just one year alone. With some leases going for over $10,000 an acre, landowners and communities stand to gain substantial monies and appreciation of their properties.
Yet at the same time, some oil and gas pipeline companies have been wielding their influence to take advantage of the situation and exercise their eminent domain powers at the expense of landowners. Numerous companies are vying to construct pipelines across thousands of miles of land to handle the new production. Earlier in the year, pipeline companies could claim eminent domain to acquire an easement on a coveted piece of mineral-rich property with few restrictions. Texas law allowed them to do so and the only recourse landowners sometimes had was to try to negotiate for compensation or possibly face a lawsuit from the pipeline company.
But since Sept. 1, Texas law now says that pipeline companies must make a good faith offer to the landowner and give the landowner more time to respond to the offer before the company can file a lawsuit. There are numerous other requirements that pipeline companies must now meet and there are also numerous additional rights and protections that have been granted to landowners. Lawsuits have gone up sevenfold in the last year as companies vie for their piece of the Eagle Ford shale. Individuals and communities have shown concern about the pace of development and their rights being suppressed.
A skilled Texas oil and gas attorney can give legal guidance to landowners to ensure they are having their rights upheld, know their options, and that an offer is adequate and fair. Any offer a pipeline company gives should be based on numerous factors, including a current appraisal of the land or easement’s value. Should negotiations break down, a skilled oil and gas lawyer can be critical for having the landowner’s concerns addressed in a courtroom. An Eagle Ford oil and gas attorney can also assist when an oil and gas lease dispute arises or conflicts over mineral rights, drilling, or environmental issues surface.
The Law Offices of Gregory D. Jordan counsels individuals and landowners in the Eagle Ford Shale area of south Texas. Texas oil and gas lawyer Gregory D. Jordan has decades of oil and gas industry experience, not only from the legal perspective, but also from his background as a petroleum landman and petroleum engineer.