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.

Condemnation Matters, Right of Way Acquisition and Litigation of Pipelines

The attorneys at Zabel Freeman have extensive experience in condemnation matters, and specifically in right of way acquisition and litigation involving pipelines. Attorneys at Zabel Freeman have collectively participated in well over 1000 special commissioners’ hearings in a multitude of pipeline projects, including representation of the following clients on the following projects:

American Midstream—various pipelines from Eagle Ford wells in South Texas to plants and other pipelines

Cheniere—MIDSHIP NGA pipeline in Oklahoma

DCP—Wilbreeze product pipeline in Jackson and Lavaca Counties, Texas; Sand Hills Pipeline (720 miles of 20” line) and Sand Hills header pipeline; and Southern Hills Pipeline (900 miles)

Denbury Green—carbon dioxide pipeline from Louisiana border to Brazoria County, Texas

Energy Transfer—Chisholm (20” gas line); Freedom (NGL line); Lone Star, Katy to Grimes (gas pipeline); REM Phase I (30” gas line); II (42” gas line); REM Expansion (30” gas line); Dos Hermanas line (24” gas line); Dakota Access crude line through Iowa; Rover NGA line (dual 42” natural gas lines) through Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio; Comanche and Trans Pecos (42” lines through West Texas Big Bend area and ultimately to Mexico); and Volunteer

EnLink — Sabine NGA and Crosstex NGL lines

Enterprise—White Kitchen to Falls City; Falls City to Yoakum; White Kitchen to Falls City Loop; Eagle Ford Phase 2; Lyssy to Sealy; Gardendale to Lyssy; Baytown to Mont Belvieu; Alvin to Mont Belvieu; Yoakum to Stratton Ridge; Wilson to Stratton Ridge; Seminole to Wilson Storage; North Loop; Trinity; Trinity 2/Avalon Bone; OTI to Equistar; Exxon to East Storage; Sandridge Fuhrman Expansion; Glanville to IPS; Seaway; Jones Creek to ECHO lateral; Eagle Ford Cotulla; Wilson Upgrade; ATEX; AEGIS; OTI to Mont Belvieu; Orla to Waha; Orla NGL; Orla Gas Gathering; South Eddy Lateral; Bryant G; Oyster Creek Propylene; Midland to Sealy crude line; Shin Oak; Seminole Conversion; Colonial 36”; Conoco EFS Expansion; Dual Export; and EOG Gathering

ExxonMobil—BLADE Beaumont Refinery Connector crude pipeline project in Jefferson County, Texas; Delaware Connector crude pipeline project in Winkler and Loving Counties, Texas.

Florida Gas— Port Arthur and Wilson NGA lines from Louisiana to Texas

Kinder Morgan Gulf Coast Express 42”, 513-mile natural gas pipeline project from Waha, Reeves County, Texas to Auga Dulce, Nueces County, Texas; Permian Highway 42”, 425-mile natural gas pipeline project from Waha, Reeves County, Texas to Colorado County, Texas; and Kinder Morgan Tejas SK Lateral 36”, 40-mile natural gas pipeline project in Brazoria County, Texas

Louis Dreyfus—major pump and storage station in Harris County, Texas

MidTexas Pipeline—the Katy-Grimes Pipeline

Monument/LaSalle/Eagle Ford Midstream—Regency Gas Plant line, Midstream line and EFM Phase I and II pipelines and Net Mexico pipeline to Mexico

ONEOK Arbuckle II 24”/30” 385-mile natural gas liquids pipeline project from Montague County, Texas to Mont Belvieu, Chambers County, Texas; Arbuckle to Sibon 16”, 30-mile natural gas liquids pipeline project in Liberty County, Texas

Phillips Natural Gas Company—the entire Austin Chalk gathering System in the Giddings area

Phillips Pipe Line Company—all product lines to Phillips’ Sweeny Plant

P66—Gray Oak from Loving County in West Texas to South Texas (873 mile NGL line)

Republic Midstream—various pipelines from Eagle Ford wells in South Texas to plants and other pipelines

TransCanada—Keystone pipeline (36” crude line) from the Oklahoma/Texas border to Nederland, Texas and lateral from Nederland to Houston, Sour Lake Lateral

United Brine and Texas Brine—all brine lines from salt domes to Mont Belvieu and from brine wells to plants throughout Texas

Significant Representations

Thomas Zabel
James Freeman