Alexander K. Obrecht

Associate

Denver
T +1.303.764.4082
F +1.303.861.7805

Overview

Alex Obrecht concentrates his practice on energy regulation and litigation, focusing on oil and gas development on federal lands, hazardous materials transportation and compliance, and oil and gas royalties. Having grown up and attended law school in Wyoming, one of the leading energy-producing states in the country, Alex adds a practical understanding to the complex legal environment in which his clients operate.

Prior to law school, Alex worked with Credit Suisse, a Switzerland-based investment bank. During his tenure, he was involved in securities trading that occurred after the Macondo well blowout, which gave Alex insight into the corporate and financial aspects of issues affecting his energy clients.

Select Experience

Trade Associations
  • Secured a nationwide preliminary injunction and merits order invalidating the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's hydraulic fracturing regulations on federal and Indian lands. 
    • Order Granting Preliminary Injunction: Wyoming v. U.S. Department of the Interior, 136 F. Supp. 3d 1317 (D. Wyo. 2015)
    • Order Setting Aside Regulations: Wyoming v. U.S. Department of the Interior, __ F. Supp. 3d __, 2016 WL 3509415 (D. Wyo. June 21, 2016)
Independent Oil and Gas Companies
  • Secured summary judgment and affirmance on appeal for an independent oil and gas company in an antitrust suit related to natural gas development from coal bed methane deposits in the Rocky Mountains. 
    • Order Granting Summary Judgment: Buccaneer Energy (USA) Inc. v. Gunnison Energy Corp., No. 12-cv-01618-RPM, 2015 WL 5655519 (D. Colo. Sept. 25, 2015)
    • Tenth Circuit Affirmance: Buccaneer Energy (USA) Inc. v. Gunnison Energy Corp., __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 460969 (10th Cir. Feb. 3, 2017)
  • Obtained reversal on appeal of an unfavorable district court order obtained by previous counsel for independent oil and gas company in federal royalty litigation. 
    • District of Columbia Circuit Reversal: Continental Resources, Inc. v. Jewell, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 406183 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 31, 2017)
  • Obtained novel mandamus relief for independent oil and gas company because of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s failure to issue oil and gas drilling permits and to comply with the agency’s obligations under the Mineral Leasing Act.
    • Order Granting Motion for Mandamus Relief: EnerVest, Ltd v. Jewell, __ F.3d __, 2016 WL 7496116 (D. Utah Dec. 30, 2016)
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Experience

Trade Associations
  • Secured a nationwide preliminary injunction and merits order invalidating the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's hydraulic fracturing regulations on federal and Indian lands. 
    • Order Granting Preliminary Injunction: Wyoming v. U.S. Department of the Interior, 136 F. Supp. 3d 1317 (D. Wyo. 2015)
    • Order Setting Aside Regulations: Wyoming v. U.S. Department of the Interior, __ F. Supp. 3d __, 2016 WL 3509415 (D. Wyo. June 21, 2016)
  • Counsel to a national oil and gas trade association in a challenge to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s compliance with its oil and gas lease sale obligation under the Mineral Leasing Act; defeated a motion to intervene by special interest groups. 
  • Counsel to a national agricultural trade association involved in efforts to review and prepare comments to Environmental Protection Agency's and United States Army Corps of Engineers' proposed rulemaking related to the Clean Water Act's definition of the "Waters of the United States."
Independent Oil and Gas Companies
  • Secured summary judgment and affirmance on appeal for an independent oil and gas company in an antitrust suit related to natural gas development from coal bed methane deposits in the Rocky Mountains. 
    • Order Granting Summary Judgment: Buccaneer Energy (USA) Inc. v. Gunnison Energy Corp., No. 12-cv-01618-RPM, 2015 WL 5655519 (D. Colo. Sept. 25, 2015)
    • Tenth Circuit Affirmance: Buccaneer Energy (USA) Inc. v. Gunnison Energy Corp., __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 460969 (10th Cir. Feb. 3, 2017)
  • Obtained reversal on appeal of an unfavorable district court order obtained by previous counsel for independent oil and gas company in federal royalty litigation. 
    • District of Columbia Circuit Reversal: Continental Resources, Inc. v. Jewell, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 406183 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 31, 2017)
  • Obtained novel mandamus relief for independent oil and gas company because of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s failure to issue oil and gas drilling permits and to comply with the agency’s obligations under the Mineral Leasing Act.
    • Order Granting Motion for Mandamus Relief: EnerVest, Ltd v. Jewell, __ F.3d __, 2016 WL 7496116 (D. Utah Dec. 30, 2016)
  • Counsel to an independent oil and gas company in an ongoing federal royalty dispute in the Department of Interior’s administrative appeals process and federal court litigation.
  • Member of a defense team for an independent oil and gas company in ongoing Department of Justice civil investigation pursuant to the False Claims Act for allegedly underpaid royalties on natural gas.
Hazardous Materials
  • Counsel to a midstream client developing a compliance plan with hazardous materials regulations for crude oil transportation. 
  • Counsel to an oil and gas wastewater treatment company.

Recognitions and Memberships

Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • Colorado Bar Association
  • North Dakota Bar Association
  • Wyoming Bar Association
  • Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
  • Denver Petroleum Club
  • Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA)
  • Western Energy Alliance

Community

  • Friends of Harvard: Donor and Class Agent
    • Track and Field
    • Football
  • Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholarship: Co-Founder
  • University of Wyoming Alumni Association: Board of Directors
  • Denver East High School, A+ Angels: Mentor

Pro Bono

  • Served as counsel to a tenant in a breach of warranty of habitability dispute with a landlord. 
  • In conjunction with the ACLU, represented two women wrongly arrested and prosecuted for crimes during a 2013 "drug sting". The lawsuit settled with payment of $375,000 to the client.
  • Member of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit’s pro bono panel. 

Industries

Prior Positions

  • Law Clerk for the Honorable Gregory Alan Phillips of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (2013)
  • Credit Suisse Securities: Institutional Credit Sales Analyst (2008 to 2010)

Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • Colorado
  • North Dakota
  • Wyoming

Education

  • J.D., University of Wyoming College of Law, 2013, with honors, Dean's List; Editor-in-Chief, Wyoming Law Review; Honorable Clarence A. Brimmer Scholarship Recipient (2012 to 2013), Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Scholarship Recipient (2012 to 2013)
  • B.A., Economics, Harvard University, 2008; with honors; Varsity Football (2004 to 2007), Ivy League Champions (2004 and 2007); Varsity Track & Field (2004 to 2008), Captain (2007 to 2008)

Blog

In The Blogs

Previous Next
Oil and Gas: Managing Personnel Reductions and Asset Sales Under Increasing Government Audit and Enforcement Scrutiny
By Alexander K. Obrecht
May 26, 2016
As oil enters the ninth month of sub-$50 per barrel prices – and natural gas languishes below $3 per MMBtu – the oil and gas industry confronts a challenging time of transition. Layoffs have already happened (or are imminently looming) for...
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Crude-by-Rail Update: Largest West Coast Terminal Proposal Suffocating Under Delay
By Alexander K. Obrecht
April 20, 2016
The largest proposed crude-by-rail (CBR) transloading facility on the West Coast recently survived a major hurdle to its ultimate construction and operation—a lease extension. But with the proposed project enduring nearly three years of...
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Off the Tracks: Quantifying Potential Monetary Exposure From Crude-by-Rail Incidents
By Alexander K. Obrecht
March 4, 2016
This article is the second in a three-part series that began with “Off the Tracks: A Data-Driven Analysis of Crude-by-Rail Liability Factors, Exposure, and Potential Solutions,” which was published on December 19, 2015. In Part One of this...
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Off the Tracks: A Data-Driven Analysis of Crude-by-Rail Liability Factors, Exposure, and Potential Solutions
By Alexander K. Obrecht
December 21, 2015
Crude oil prices are now approaching what pundits believe is likely to be the bottom phase in the current market cycle. Due to the price downturn, the arbitrage window that drives a substantial portion of crude-by-rail (“CBR”) shipping...
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Crude-By-Rail Update: Siting a Crude Oil Transloading Terminal in California? Developers Should Seek Old Industrial Sites and Proactively Embrace the Environmental Impact Review Process
By Alexander K. Obrecht
November 19, 2015
Proposed crude-by-rail (CBR) projects in California increasingly face opposition lawsuits designed to stall and derail the terminals. The suits often focus on alleged noncompliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)—a...
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