On December 2, 2016, the Texas Supreme Court denied review in Cerny v. Marathon Oil Corp., leaving in place the decision of the Fourth Court of Appeals, affirming summary judgment for the defendants and finding that the plaintiffs’ nuisance and negligence claims were “in the nature of toxic tort claims which fall outside a lay person’s general knowledge and experience, [and] must therefore be proven with expert testimony.” (more…)

President-elect Donald Trump has made some big promises regarding the energy industry. He has included the Keystone pipeline in his plan for his first 100 days in office and is planning to grant the necessary State Department permit, previously denied by the Obama Administration, to TransCanada Corporation to construct the northern stretch of the pipeline. (more…)

The use of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS or, colloquially, drones) is becoming more prolific. In the oil and gas context, drones can play a key role in conducting risky oilfield operations. The uses for drones in the oil patch are limitless and can allow oil and gas companies to save money and operate efficiently and safely. (more…)

A focus on oilfield services companies’ decades old compensation plans for their service technicians began shortly after President Obama took office in 2009. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) commenced a more concentrated effort to audit the manner in which oilfield services companies compensated their service technicians. (more…)

On May 12, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final rules establishing – for the first time – limits on methane emissions. In addition to creating the new methane emissions standards, the amendments to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) further curb permissible volatile organic compound (VOC) and other toxic air emissions and mandate routine monitoring and repair of new or modified point sources for the oil and gas sector. The final rule is available here. (more…)

The U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement announced final well control regulations for offshore drilling last week. The rules will purportedly make offshore drilling safer and are a consequence of the administration’s desire to prevent well control events like the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon blowout, which killed 11 workers and leaked millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. (more…)

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) focus on wage and hour violations, which caught the oil and gas industry by surprise a little more than six years ago, continues to cause problems for the energy sector. Most recently, the Wage and Hour Division announced Thursday, March 24, that oil field service companies Nova Mud Inc., Nova Hardbandings LLC and Nova Sand LLC violated overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). (more…)