Kearney, McWilliams & Davis, PLLC is dedicated to the oil and gas industry and all the related issues that accompany exploration and production. Our attorneys have vast experience in title examination of all varieties. Many of our clients have very specific and unique demands of our work product in which we coordinate with the client to produce the perfect format for their needs.
Operating on federal lands and producing minerals covered by federal oil and gas leases, or subject to Federal regulation, presents a whole different array of issues and administrative pitfalls compared to private lands. Such issues must be carefully navigated in order to initiate, maintain, and properly operate.
Kearney, McWilliams & Davis, PLLC’s oil and gas attorneys have the experience and knowledge necessary to provide legal assistance throughout the entire process of production of oil, gas, and other hydrocarbons from lands covered by Federal oil and gas leases, or subject to Federal regulations, including but not limited to matters relevant to lease acquisition, surface operations, drilling and production operations, unitization and communitization, and regulatory matters. We are also ready to assist in the acquisition and divestitures of such interests.
When it comes to governing relationships in the Oil Field, few documents are more important than the Joint Operating Agreement. Under Texas common law, any cotenant may drill for and produce oil and gas under a tract of land without consent of the other cotenants or co-owners. However, that same cotenant also bears the full risk of a dry hole and must give an accounting to the non-consenting parties for their share of production.
Without a Joint Operating Agreement, or “JOA”, there are no set rules defining relationships, allocating risk and costs, or otherwise addressing issues before they become problems.
At Kearney, McWilliams & Davis, we have the experience and knowledge to help our clients draft and negotiate an effective JOA which will address and protect interests and effectively define the relationship for all parties involved. By establishing rules, rights, and duties for all the involved parties, an effective JOA can guide a project for many years.
The American Association of Professional Landmen has promulgated form JOAs since the 1950s. Since then, several versions have been widely used, and it is important to understand the nuances of each form and the way each works to define the relationship and govern practices. As the forms change, it is important to have a partner on your side to help guide you through the different terms and ensure that your property interests remain adequately protected. Further, many relationships are governed by old agreements which may have originally been drafted by parties no longer involved in the relationship. Our firm can help analyze an old JOA to accurately determine your rights and responsibilities in the relationship based on the terms of the agreement as well as current oil and gas law.
There are many options when it comes to defining the cotenant and co-owner relationship in the oil field. Our oil and gas attorneys are prepared to assist you in drafting a strong, effective JOA to ensure that your relationships are clearly defined and your property rights are adequately protected.
At Kearney, McWilliams & Davis, PLLC, we recognize that, regardless of size, all transactions are important to our clients and their customers. Our attorneys are experienced in examining complex title in various jurisdictions across the United States and have conducted pre-closing due diligence projects for both purchasers and sellers. Our attorneys also have experience in negotiating and drafting post-closing documents, such as joint operating agreements, farm-out agreements, and participation agreements.
Whether you are the target or the bidder, these types of transactions often involve substantial tax consequences. We have collaborative relationships with accounting and tax professionals capable of structuring the entire transaction to ensure efficient tax results, now and for years to come.
From the initial tender offer through the post-closing curative, the attorneys at KMD can vigorously represent you throughout all stages of the transaction to completion while protecting your interests.
Every day, the oil and gas industry faces new regulations. Whether it involves the aptly named Texas Railroad Commission (“RRC”), the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”), FERC, or the EPA, Kearney, McWilliams & Davis, PLLC, has the oil and gas attorneys and staff with the experience to handle your regulatory compliance issues.
For our Texas clients, the RRC is king when it comes to oil and gas regulation. Operators can go online and file permits, check local and statewide rules, and ensure they followed all the steps in the process. Many of our oil and gas attorneys have years of experience as landmen, working closely with the Railroad Commission permitting wells, obtaining rule exceptions, and protesting denials. Spending time on the other side of the business has given our attorneys and KMD a unique understanding of the RRC and helps us guide our clients through any issues they may be having.
Much of the land in the Western States is subject to BLM control and regulation. Operating and working with the BLM can be a complicated process and the attorneys at KMD offer years of experience and familiarity with the BLM and can pass the value and benefit of that knowledge along to our clients.
Whether your exploration and production company needs help protesting a denied RRC or BLM permit or you need to ensure FERC compliance for your natural gas pipeline and storage facility, the attorneys at KMD are here to help.
OTO’s cover lands that have not previously been developed for production of oil, gas, and minerals. Such examinations depend wholly on the county records dating back to the sovereign ownership. Some of our clients have landmen gather the pertinent documents from the county courthouse and provide those materials to us for our examination. We also have clients that request a stand-up examination which requires our attorney’s to visit the courthouse and examine the necessary documents. Many of our title attorneys have prior experience working as landmen and are proficient in providing stand-up examinations.
A DTO seeks to meet all the federal, state, and local regulations surrounding the actual spudding of a well for production. Drilling Title Opinions are sometimes referred to as Original Title Opinions. Drilling Title Opinions identify the rightful mineral owners and determine which mineral owners have been properly leased or remain unleased.
DOTO’s examine issues that may infringe on the disbursement of revenues to rightful mineral and leasehold owners. Division Order Title Opinions are usually based on the Drilling Title Opinion/Original Title Opinion with an updated review of newly filed instruments in the county records. Accurate Division Order Title Opinions can prevent drawn-out litigation for wrongful or inadequate payments of the proceeds of a producing well. Working interest owners are generally required by federal, state, or local regulations to make disbursements of revenues in a very specific and timely manner. Division Order Title Opinions assist the working interest owners in making accurate disbursements. In addition to a DOTO, our firm prepares DDOTO’s (Drilling & Division Order Title Opinions), which includes research and opinions related to rights to drill, necessary easements, and land use restrictions.
Wellbore Title Opinions provide detailed ownership information regarding a specific, existing well. Wellbore ownership can be different than the surrounding mineral and leasehold ownership. Property law treats each right separately, allowing for conveyancing very specific interests. A mineral owner can convey away his or her rights to royalties from a specific well while retaining their interest in the lease that serves as the basis for that same well. The same is true for working interest owners and other leasehold owners.
Our attorneys look forward to discussing your title needs and will provide thorough, efficient, and accurate work product tailored to your requests. At Kearney, McWilliams & Davis, PLLC, we understand the time-sensitive nature involved with producing oil and gas properties. We’re staffed and ready to get to work.