ENERGY AND LAND USE LITIGATION
Our expertise lies in effectively handling and resolving disputes related to the energy industry, including drilling and pipeline operations, eminent domain, surface access and damage, environmental issues, and other related matters. Our experience in representing clients in state and federal courts, before arbitral panels, and regulatory agencies is extensive.
Below are just a few examples of the types of matters we specialize in:
We achieved a significant legal victory for a multinational oil and gas company by securing a final judgment in their favor, resulting in a "take nothing" ruling. This came after a two-week trial involving the King vacancy claim, the largest land vacancy claim in recent Texas history, which involved over 5,000 land, mineral, and leasehold owners. The claimed amount in dispute exceeded $10 billion dollars, making this an especially complex and high-stakes case.
Moreover, we played a pivotal role in amending and reforming the vacancy statutes by serving on a task force with representatives from the oil and gas industry, NARO, TIPRO, TxOGA, the GLO staff, surveyors, and legislators. Our efforts culminated in a successful appearance before a legislative committee hearing, where we testified in support of the new legislation.
We successfully obtained a summary judgment on behalf of a major independent oil company in a high-stakes drainage case where damages exceeded $100 million dollars. Following our victory, we were able to negotiate a favorable settlement for our client, effectively resolving the case for nuisance value.
WELLBORE DAMAGE CLAIMS
Our legal team achieved a significant legal victory by obtaining a summary judgment in favor of a large oilfield service company in a lawsuit that involved wellbore damage claims of approximately $300 million dollars. Our success in this case not only saved our client from potential financial losses, but it also affirmed our expertise in handling complex and high-stakes legal matters in the energy industry.
CESSATION OF OPERATION CLAIMS
We secured a favorable judgment for an oil and gas production company in a case where a landowner had wrongfully claimed that the client's lease had expired due to a cessation of operations. Following several days of trial, the court ruled in favor of our client, finding that the lease had not expired and issuing a permanent injunction that prohibited the landowner from interfering with the client's access and operations. Additionally, the court awarded our client over $160,000 in attorneys' fees, further affirming our expertise in effectively representing clients in the energy industry.
Our legal team at Zabel Freeman has a wealth of experience handling over a thousand commissioners hearings to acquire permanent and temporary easements on behalf of numerous common carriers, gas utilities, and gas corporations. Our expertise in this area allows us to provide exceptional legal representation and ensure that our clients' interests are protected in matters involving easements and related issues in the energy industry.
INTERNATIONAL OIL AND GAS DISPUTES
Our legal team at Zabel Freeman has a proven track record of achieving favorable settlements in high-stakes international arbitrations involving the energy industry. In one notable example, we secured favorable settlements in two separate arbitrations related to a proposed $1.5 billion LNG project in Mexico. One of these arbitrations was conducted under the American Arbitration Association Rules and involved a London-based company, while the other was conducted under the International Centre for Dispute Resolution rules and involved a Mexico-based company.
Our experience in this area extends beyond these specific cases, as we have successfully handled and resolved oil and gas arbitration proceedings in Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Egypt, and Australia, under various arbitration rules in the Houston area. Our expertise allows us to provide top-tier legal representation to clients of all sizes and types in the energy industry, ensuring that their interests are protected and their legal needs are met.
CONDEMNATION MATTERS, RIGHT OF WAY ACQUISITION AND LITIGATION OF PIPELINES
Zabel Freeman's attorneys possess a wealth of experience in condemnation matters, specifically in right of way acquisition and litigation involving pipelines. Collectively, they have participated in over 1000 special commissioners' hearings in various pipeline projects, representing an extensive list of clients including:
Monument/LaSalle/Eagle Ford Midstream
Phillips Natural Gas Company
Phillips Pipe Line Company
United Brine and Texas Brine
Their involvement in numerous high-profile projects such as the Keystone pipeline, Gray Oak NGL line, and Rover NGA line demonstrates their success in handling complex oil and gas condemnation cases.