Oil & Gas
- Surface-use agreements
- Purchase-and-sale agreements
- Pooling agreements
- Conveyances of overriding royalties, production payments, net-profits interests, and wellbore interests
- Joint-operating agreements
- Farmout agreements
- Exploration agreements and seismic agreements
- Environmental issues
- Curative oil-and-gas title documents, including stipulations of interest, assignments, subordination agreements, and ratifications
- Leases, deeds, and pipeline rights-of-way
- Receivership leases
The firm’s attorneys render the following types of opinions:
- Lease Acquisition Title Opinions
- Original (Drilling) Title Opinions
- Supplemental and Division-Order Title Opinions
With the complexity of land titles and the laws governing them, title disputes are sometimes inevitable. The attorneys at Hamilton & Squibb are regularly called upon to assess the merits of competing claims of ownership, provide risk-assessment analysis, and represent individuals, institutional investors, and oil-and-gas companies against adverse ownership claims.
Individual and Institutional Clients
CLAIMS, NEGOTIATION & SETTLEMENT
The firm has substantial experience representing the interests of surface owners, mineral owners, and royalty owners, and our attorneys have a track record of delivering outstanding results. Our clients’ disputes are often resolved following an initial demand or a negotiated settlement agreement. Other times, more effort is required, even when the offending party’s grounds for objection are tenuous. In every case, we think creatively in pursuit of results that surpass our clients’ expectations, and we pride ourselves on communication, skillful negotiation, and vehement representation.
INCORRECT ROYALTY PAYMENTS & SUSPENSE ISSUES
Title disputes do not stop after an oil-and-gas well is drilled and producing. Oftentimes, our clients are not receiving the full royalty amounts attributable to their interests – or their royalties are being held in suspense by the operator. Hamilton & Squibb frequently acts as an advocate or intermediary between interest owners and operators to investigate and resolve title discrepancies, interests in suspense, and failures to tender timely royalty payments.
Exploration & Production Companies
ADVICE & RISK ASSESSMENT
When title disputes or defects exist or interfere with development plans, operators trust our attorneys to provide realistic, succinct advice within a short time frame. While the outcomes of most title issues cannot be predicted with certainty, we understand an operator’s need for an unequivocal “best-case” and “worst-case” calculation in a timely manner, without legalese or qualifications. In addition, the business and economics backgrounds of our attorneys, grounded in industry knowledge and experience, give our firm a real-world understanding of how title issues affect an operator’s bottom line.
The firm performs due diligence for transactions involving lenders, borrowers, buyers, and sellers in the oil-and-gas industry. Representing secured and unsecured lenders and borrowers, Hamilton & Squibb negotiates and prepares loan documents, deeds of trust, assignments, and other instruments to facilitate the flow of capital in the energy industry.
In addition to negotiating and structuring the purchase and sale of oil-and-gas assets, our firm frequently performs due diligence for large and medium-sized acquisitions.
We offer an elastic suite of services and manpower that is easily customized for a particular transaction. Recognizing that each transaction is unique, our role is rarely the same from one project to the next. Always conscious and respectful of our clients’ time, money, and objectives, our firm’s approach to due-diligence projects centers on flexibility, value, and quality.
Due-Diligence Coordination & Research
When the documentation or data-room content of a seller or broker is deficient, our firm researches and collects relevant title and due-diligence material. Every attorney at Hamilton & Squibb is at home in the courthouse and the title plant. For valued clients, we frequently send our own attorneys to perform field work at competitive rates. For larger transactions, our firm has the capacity to assemble and coordinate teams of landmen to carry out title projects.
Due-Diligence Examination & Advice
After assembling title and other materials – or when in-house landmen are responsible for coordinating the due-diligence effort – our firm is called upon to examine title, identify defects, and evaluate risks. For higher-value assets, our review typically includes a thorough examination of title instruments and any prior title opinions, coupled with the preparation of an acquisition title opinion. For smaller properties, our examination is frequently scope-limited, and title advice may be delivered on a less formal basis.
Defects & Workouts
When title or other problems arise, our firm prepares defect notices and explanations to opposing parties and assists in negotiating workouts related to defect issues. Fiercely loyal to our clients’ interests, our advocacy shields clients from paying for liabilities and problem properties.
Hamilton & Squibb advises clients during all phases of upstream development to ensure compliance with Railroad Commission regulations and local ordinances. Operators are often frustrated by conflicts between regulations, on one hand, and legal, engineering, and geological considerations on the other. With an intimate understanding of regulations and field rules for horizontal wells, we help operators discover solutions to the tensions created by these often-competing realities.
The firm has experience dealing with a wide variety of other regulations and statutes and has advised companies and mineral owners with respect to the availability of the Mineral Interest Pooling Act. Where spacing, density, and permitting issues arise, our firm offers representation before the Texas Railroad Commission and other agencies and authorities.
Hamilton & Squibb has extensive experience helping companies develop strategies to overcome title and regulatory obstacles to the drilling of horizontal wells. The firm prides itself in its grasp of the rich body of law addressing pooling and cotenancy, as well as the hurdles posed by well-spacing and density requirements for horizontal wells.
Applying that expertise, the firm helps clients form units and establish drilling plans to guarantee legal wells with optimal net-revenue interests. Our attorneys have an abundance of experience in dealing with nonconsenting interests, including nonexecutive mineral interests, nonparticipating royalty interests, unleased mineral interests in cotenancy, and nonconsenting third-party working interests. We understand how and why these interests complicate and interfere with drilling plans. Armed with that legal knowledge, we help clients clear regulatory and legal hurdles while minimizing exposure to interests that adversely impact economic return.