Shale

"When the issues are broader or involve multistate jurisdictions, the firm's size and networking firepower have been incredibly helpful."
– Chambers USA 2013

The oil and gas industry in the United States is thriving and shale formations across the country, accessible using hydraulic fracturing techniques, have been driving the boom. While hydraulic fracturing has and will continue to receive scrutiny, the direct and indirect benefits to the U.S. economy will enable the deployment to increase rapidly in the coming years.

BakerHostetler’s 80-attorney Energy and Shale practice team is comprised of lawyers across the U.S. who are leaders in their respective fields in representing oil and gas clients. We have:

  • A unique understanding of the industry’s rapidly evolving regulatory, legal, and political climate. We litigate cases that are shaping this game-changing field, and we stay abreast of current trends, developments, and changes in regulations, among other things. Through our blog (www.NorthAmericaShaleBlog.com), we offer timely information and advice related to new industry developments.
  • Experience across all the proven shale plays. Our multidisciplinary, multistate team leverages the collective experience of our national energy, environmental, business, tax, government affairs, and litigation practices to help clients fully capitalize on the development of oil and gas resources across North America.
  • Dedicated transactions team with oil and gas experience. We have dedicated lawyers who focus on the acquisition and divesture of shale-related properties and leases with expertise on critical due diligence matters and unique legal issues in emerging shale plays.
  • Unmatched ability to represent clients at all points in the energy life cycle, from the initial communications with landowners and community and public interest groups, to acquisitions and exploration drilling, and into the production, processing, and divestitures of assets.
  • Fluency in the broader energy industry. We serve energy companies domestically and around the world, representing industry leaders in some of their largest local and international transactions. With energy lawyers in 11 offices across the United States, we speak the language and understand the business. Many of our lawyers have technical degrees and have worked in-house with major energy players.
  • Tested and proven experience on siting energy infrastructure. We have represented clients on legal issues related to the siting of a variety of energy infrastructure projects, including natural gas, natural gas liquids and oil pipelines, processing facilities, power plants, and transmission lines.
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BakerHostetler’s dedicated Energy and Shale practice team is positioned to help clients seize the opportunities afforded by this rapidly evolving industry while avoiding the pitfalls.

Strategic Thinking

In an ever-increasing number of shale development disputes, those who support the use of horizontal hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and natural gas are positioned as anti-environmental. We believe the most successful energy companies will be those that join with interested stakeholders to proactively adopt appropriate environmental safeguards and fully educate the public about how oil and gas development creates jobs, improves infrastructure, lowers energy prices, alleviates long-term energy needs, and reduces dependence on unreliable foreign suppliers.

Oil and Gas Counseling and Transactions

Our Energy and Shale lawyers routinely advise clients on various types of business matters and transactions, including:

  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Joint venture structuring
  • Drilling programs and compliance with securities requirements
  • Financing options—including public offerings and private placement of equity and debt
  • Contract/agreement development
  • Regulatory compliance counseling
  • Evaluation of shale play investment opportunities
  • Environmental matters
  • Water rights and sourcing
  • Real estate and leasing
  • Government relations
  • Antitrust claims
Administrative Issues

We provide knowledgeable counsel on the entire spectrum of emerging administrative issues concerning:

  • Permitting processes
  • Documentation requirements
  • Emergency response
  • Allegations of non-compliance
Litigation

As the new industry evolves—and as the stakes get higher—our litigation team has the knowledge and experience to help clients face challenges in such areas as:

  • Lease title disputes
  • Facility and equipment construction and engineering disputes—delays, cost overruns, and negligence
  • Production issues—well blow-outs, equipment failures, and product liability claims
  • Environmental lawsuits—leaks, spills, permitting disputes, and contamination
  • Product transport—pipeline damage, leaks, spills, collisions, and derailments
  • Personnel issues—OSHA claims, workers compensation, and civil claims
  • Contractual disputes
Ancillary Services

As a full-service law firm with nearly 900 lawyers across 14 offices, we are able to provide legal services and advice to oil and gas companies in other legal disciplines that may affect their business and operations, including international, maritime, hospitality, labor and employment, healthcare, and intellectual property.

Select Experience

  • Represented an oil field services provider in a dispute arising out of an uncontrolled release of fracturing fluid during a 15-stage fracturing job in the Marcellus Shale. The litigation involved products liability, regulatory compliance, and environmental issues.
  • Represented an energy company in its securities matters in the U.S. relating to its activities in shale-producing plays and patenting its technology relating to increased drainage of highly viscous oil.
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Experience

  • Represented an oil field services provider in a dispute arising out of an uncontrolled release of fracturing fluid during a 15-stage fracturing job in the Marcellus Shale. The litigation involved products liability, regulatory compliance, and environmental issues.
  • Represented an energy company in its securities matters in the U.S. relating to its activities in shale-producing plays and patenting its technology relating to increased drainage of highly viscous oil.
  • Represented producers in the assignment of leasehold deed rights in the Utica Shale, as well as representing clients in acquiring oil and gas leases in Ohio and joint venturing the drilling of wells.
  • Represented groups in the acquisition of options on tens of thousands of acres in the Utica Shale play in Ohio. This work involves negotiation of the options and the terms of the joint venture that would apply if the options are exercised.

Key Contacts

Blog

In The Blogs

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North America Shale Blog
TX House Subcommittee Hears Testimony from Railroad Commission Seismologist on Proposed Rules Related to Disposal Wells in High-Risk Seismic Areas
August 29, 2014
Following the Texas Railroad Commission’s recent proposal for additional rules related to disposal wells in “high-risk” seismic areas, on Monday, August 25, members of the Texas House Subcommittee on Seismic Activity heard testimony from...
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North America Shale Blog
Texas Supreme Court to Hear Defamation Case Involving Fracking Claims
August 27, 2014
On August 21, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court agreed to hear oral arguments in an ongoing dispute between a homeowner and Texas-based oil driller Range Resources Corp. The case is not a typical homeowner vs. oil driller lawsuit, though—in...
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North America Shale Blog
Colorado State Court Strikes Down a Second City-Wide Fracking Ban
August 25, 2014
A Colorado state judge recently struck down a city’s voter-approved moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” This marks the second time a Colorado judge has quashed a city’s fracking ban within a matter of two weeks. As we...
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North America Shale Blog
Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission Appeals Act 13 Ruling to State Supreme Court
August 22, 2014
The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PPUC) is asking the state Supreme Court to review a July ruling by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court that strips PPUC of its authority to review and approve local drilling ordinances...
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North America Shale Blog
Oil and Gas Developer Challenges an Extreme Waste Disposal Ordinance Enacted by a Pennsylvania Township
August 20, 2014
Oil and gas developer Pennsylvania General Energy Company, LLC (“PGE”) recently filed suit against Grant Township in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, alleging that a waste disposal ordinance enacted by the Township violates the United States...
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