Energy, Land Use and Environmental Litigation

We have extensive experience in handling and successfully resolving disputes involving drilling operations, pipeline operations, eminent domain, surface access, surface trespass and damage, environmental issues and other issues affecting the energy industry. We try cases in state courts, federal courts, before arbitral panels and before regulatory agencies.

The following are a representative sample of the type of matters we handle:

Vacancy Claims

Obtained take nothing final judgment in favor of large, multinational oil and gas company, after two week trial on largest land vacancy claim in recent Texas history (the King Vacancy Claim) where the claimed amount in dispute exceeded $10 billion dollars, and involved over five thousand land, mineral and leasehold owners. Also served on a task force which worked with oil and gas industry participants, NARO, TIPRO, TxOGA, the GLO Staff, surveyors and legislators to successfully amend and reform the vacancy statutes, and appeared at a legislature committee hearing to testify in support of the new legislation.

Obtained dismissal of a major oil company from large vacancy claim involving close to one thousand affected landowners, based on constitutional amendment which was originally prepared for the King Vacancy Claim and was revised to include the Smith County Vacancy Claim.

Drainage Claims

Obtained summary judgment on behalf of major independent oil company in drainage case in which damages exceeded $100 million dollars, and thereafter successfully settled the case for nuisance value.

Wellbore Damage Claims

Obtained summary judgment in favor of a large oilfield service company in a suit involving wellbore damage claims of approximately $300 million dollars.

Cessation of Operation Claims

Obtained favorable judgment for an oil and gas production company against a landowner that locked the client out of its oil and gas lease claiming that the lease had expired for cessation of operations. After several days of trial, the Court entered judgment that the oil and gas lease had not expired, issued a permanent injunction prohibiting landowner from further interfering with clients access and operations, and awarded client over $160,000 in attorneys fees.

Easement Disputes

The attorneys at Zabel Freeman have handled well over one thousand commissioners hearings to acquire permanent and temporary easements on behalf of numerous common carriers and gas utilities and gas corporations.

International Oil and Gas Disputes

Obtained favorable settlements in two international arbitrations involving a proposed $1.5 billion LNG project in Mexico, one under the American Arbitration Association Rules involving a London-based company and the other under the International Centre for Dispute Resolution rules involving a Mexico-based company.

Have handled and successfully resolved oil and gas arbitration proceedings involving oil and gas properties in Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Egypt and Australia, under the American Arbitration Association, International Centre for Dispute Resolution and other arbitration rules.

Significant Representations

Thomas Zabel
James Freeman
1135 Heights Boulevard
Houston, Texas 77008
Phone: 713.802.9117 | Fax: 713.802.9114
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