January 30, 2013 Articles

Five Things New Oil and Gas Attorneys Should Know

The expansion of oil and gas production will require new legal regimes to be developed--as well as a new kind of attorney.

By Rebecca L. Phillips – January 30, 2013

The United States is on track to become the world’s top oil producer by 2017. The United States is already the world’s second largest producer of natural gas, outpaced only by Russia. International Energy Agency. This is news.

Technology has spurred the increased production. Most notably, the technique of fracturing, or fracking, has given old wells new life. It also has enabled producers to tap into previously unreachable resources. This means new wells and new locations. States such as Ohio, not traditionally associated with oil and gas production, will begin to contribute substantially to national production.

This expansion of oil and gas production will require new legal regimes to be developed—as well as a new kind of attorney. To hit the ground drilling, oil and gas attorneys need to know something about the field. This article is based on my experience as a first-year energy-litigation associate in a Texas law firm, but some of the article’s lessons are applicable to corporate attorneys and solo practitioners. Law is drawn from the great state of Texas, which is largely followed by other producing states. Even where state laws differ, this article will provide background perspective.

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