Upstream Oil and Gas

Following a period of sustained high oil prices that led to robust investment in the exploration and production (E&P) sector of the energy industry in recent years, we are now in a period of oil price volatility.  These market forces are driving an industry transformation — spurring innovation as companies prioritize operational efficiency and better extraction methods.  This low price environment is infusing entrepreneurial energy at a critical time and driving an increase in research, development and collaboration.

As Kean Miller clients are adjusting and refocusing their businesses to maintain their competitiveness, they are working closely with our Upstream Oil & Gas team to identify and take advantage of the strategic opportunities and challenges caused by an ever-changing industry.  

Upstream Transactions

We’ve led transactions for the purchase and sale of oil and gas fields in Texas, Louisiana, North Dakota, Kansas, New Mexico, and Colorado.  Our upstream transactional practice includes title examination; the negotiation and drafting of various oil and gas related contracts, conveyances and agreements; due diligence projects; regulatory matters; and providing general counsel to landmen and in-house attorneys in connection with all phases of onshore exploration and production.

Title Examination
  • Drillsite Title Opinions
  • Supplemental Title Opinions
  • Division Order Title Opinions
  • Leasehold Acquisition Title Opinions
  • Limited Title Letter Opinions
  • Rendering stand-up title opinions in several states
  • Opinions covering onshore and offshore state and federal lands
Negotiation and Drafting of Contracts
  • Oil, gas and mineral leases
  • Pooling and unitization agreements
  • Ratification agreements
  • Purchase and sale agreements 
  • Farm-out agreements 
  • Joint operating agreements
  • Master service agreements
  • Easements and rights-of-way
  • Salt water disposal agreements 
  • Surface use and surface damage agreements
  • Environmental and Permitting Counsel
Due Diligence
  • Oil and gas property acquisition and divestiture
  • Leasehold and acquisition title opinions
  • Surface ownership letter opinions

Regulatory Representation

We offer deep upstream energy industry knowledge and a proactive mindset when it comes to environmental compliance.  Our focus is on preventive measures and strategies to maintain compliance and keep operations and transactions moving forward.  We routinely represent clients before administrative and regulatory bodies in Louisiana, including the Louisiana Office of Conservation, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, the Louisiana State Mineral and Energy Board, and the Department of Environmental Quality.

Upstream Litigation

We represent major E&P companies, service companies, various corporate entities, and individuals in litigation matters related to upstream oil, gas and mineral production, environmental compliance, property disputes, and other related matters. Our team includes litigators equally experienced with administrative and judicial proceedings. We vigorously defend clients against regulatory compliance challenges, enforcement actions and citizen suits and represent client interests in administrative reviews pertaining to permitting.

Representative Upstream Experience
  • Representation of energy companies in exploration, production and operational matters, including all phases of oil and gas title, due diligence and curative, purchase and sale agreements, exploration and letter agreements, joint operating agreements, farmout agreements, mineral leases, regulatory compliance, and surface use related agreements involving well pads, roads, pipelines, powerlines, frac ponds and salt water disposal
  • Representation of energy companies and owners of mineral rights in demands, disputes and litigation related to energy related contracts, rights and legal compliance, including under La. R.S. 30:10, La. R.S. 31:137, La. R.S. 30:103.1, concursus/interpleader, surface use, royalty payments, unleased mineral owners, unitization, continuous operations, shut-in payments, production in paying quantities and the public records doctrine
  • Representation of companies, landowners and banks in acquisitions and property management, including acquisitions of both land and minerals/royalty, title matters, curative, leasing, oil and gas matters, predial servitudes, surface use, farming and hunting leases, and trespass and boundary issues
  • Obtaining judgments in favor of mineral purchasers under the Louisiana public records doctrine against claims of a potential heirs
  • Title and property disputes, including ownership of royalties, minerals, and surface rights 
  • Litigation and disputes arising out of interpretation of oil and gas leases
  • Boundary disputes
  • Environmental and toxic tort litigation 
  • Contract and deed construction litigation
  • Receiverships and interpleader actions