Created by: Martha Mills at 10/6/2015 12:18:24 PM | 0 comments. | 1132 views.

Gulf Coast Land Institute 2015

Oct. 22 & 23, 2015

Topics & Speakers

Thursday, Oct. 22

7:45 - 8:20 Registration / Continental Breakfast

8:20 - 8:30 Welcoming Remarks    

8:30 - 9:30 Offshore Drilling Keith Couvillion - Chevron

9:30 - 10:30 Drones - An Aerial Perspective on Terrestrial Systems Keith Cottrill - ILandV and Ian McGill - MGM Service, Inc.

10:45 - 11:45 Recent Developments in Legislation & Jurisprudence James L. Bullen - Dennis, Bates & Bullen, LLP

11:45 - 1:30 Luncheon w/ Guest Speaker - Use & Possession Matters Billy Mouton, attorney

1:30 - 2:30 Determine the ownership of water bottoms in Louisiana Jacob Gower - Slattery, Marino & Roberts Law Firm

2:30 - 2:45 Break

2:45 - 3:45 Compulsory Unitization in Louisiana - Important Legislative Updates - Jeremy P. Shealy - Onebane Law Firm

3:45 - 4:45 Current Environmental Concerns & Issues Through the Clean Water Act and More Gregg Hamilton - Blue Ox Environmental

Friday, October 23

7:00 - 8:00 Optional prayer breakfast hosted by LAPL

7:45 - 8:30 Registration / Continental Breakfast

8:30 - 9:30 Overview of fracturing wells today - What's different from 75 years ago? Stephen Persac

9:30 - 10:30 Ethics Al Hoppe, retired attorney

10:30 - 10:45 Break

10:45 - 11:45 Oil & Gas Geology: The Best of the Story - An InterACTIVE Talk

11:45-1:30 Luncheon  Guest Speaker Moon Griffon - Energy issues on state & political levels

Created by: Martha Mills at 9/21/2015 2:03:14 PM | 0 comments. | 1094 views.

Nationwide, what is on everyone in our industry’s minds these days?  That, I think, can be answered by asking another question.  When will this downturn turn around and become a recovery?  I guess that question could be asked not only about our industry, but about our nation’s economy as well.  If you have the answer to this question please contact me and I will get the word out.

While most of our industry has seen a longer than anticipated slowdown, there are some sectors that have sustained moderate activity levels.  Slumping oil prices have, as you are all well aware, caused a significant decrease in new project development and land work has suffered as a result.  Many market analysts and industry professionals suggest that this low price level may continue in to next year, but who really knows.  Those of us who have been in the oil and gas industry for any length of time realize that these market corrections that take place every 5 to 8 years are difficult, but they do cause us to learn more about our overall industry and give us time to work on our marketing skills - I’m just looking for the silver lining.  The sectors that seem to have not been affected as much involve companies that lean on natural gas production as their major income source, since its market price has remained somewhat stable – although a bit low [at just under $3.00/mcf].  The Permian Basin folks seem to be doing a little better than most and some that I have talked with are staying very busy.  Many pipeline and acquisition and divestiture projects are still in the mix, but the volatility and low prices don’t bring much energy to move them through quickly.

Well enough of the industry chatter that you are likely already aware of; I just needed to impart my wisdom to the younger members.

News about our AAPL Headquarters:  Many of us have now met our new Executive Vice-President, Melanie Bell, and I for one am thoroughly impressed.  Melanie’s qualifications are impressive and she appears to be a very capable replacement to Marty Schardt.  Of the eight staff vacancies that opened this year, four have been filled and four remain to be filled, namely to be filled, Publications/Marketing Manager, Business Development Assistant, Marketing/PR Assistant and Publications Assistant.  There will be an Open House held on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at the new headquarters building at 800 Fournier Street, Ft. Worth.  Invitations will be extended to all members, city and governmental officials, NAPE Partners, clients and vendors.

NAPE:  One would think that with the loss of so many landmen and the status of our industry that NAPE would have shown diminished attendance numbers, but that wasn’t the case for Summer NAPE.  The numbers were similar to last year’s attendance when oil prices were about double what they were this summer.  They attribute the stable attendance to interest in the new Wednesday/Thursday format and advertising.  Other industry expos were not as well attended and took a huge hit on attendance compared to last year.

The AAPL Marketing Committee announced that they are expanding the Ambassador Tool Kit that is available on AAPL’s website.  It will now include data and infographics regarding the latest industry research findings and developments, such as the EPA’s recent ruling regarding hydraulic fracturing.  The tool kit can be used to counteract misinformation and to equip local associations and members with the necessary information to present to influential businesses and members of their local communities.

The new Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) has been finalized by the Form 610 JOA Revision Task Force and approved by the AAPL Board.  The Task Force, which is comprised of eight lawyers/landmen from different national regions, has developed a much improved JOA that has addressed the issues found in the 1982, 1989 and “Horizontal” forms.  The methods used to identify and fix the forms’ problems ranged from polling users, reviewing court cases to interviewing peer groups to obtain comments.  The work is said to have been of the highest caliber and the form incorporates issues associated with the latest technological advances as well as cleaning up definitions and overall confusion contained in the previous forms.  While it will never be a “go with, sign here” form, it should be considered as a superior general form.  A roll-out of the form is tentatively planned for the 2nd week in November to introduce it to the industry.  They hope to have it available either on Forms-on-a-Disk or directly on the AAPL website around the beginning of the year barring any installation issues.

As a reminder, the 50% reduced rate for AAPL-sponsored educational events continues through the end of the year as well as the 25% reduction in materials.

Thank you all for your involvement and may God Bless you.
Created by: Martha Mills at 9/21/2015 12:27:10 PM | 0 comments. | 1015 views.
PLANO 2015 Clay Shoot
Created by: Martha Mills at 9/21/2015 12:14:04 PM | 0 comments. | 924 views.











The AAPL Gulf Coast Land Institute is set for Wednesday, Oct. 21-Friday, October 23, 2015 at The Doubletree Hilton Lafayette.  Eleven speakers covering an array of topics have been scheduled and the event will provide 11 AAPL credits including 1 Ethics credit.  


An ice breaker & Legends Night will be held on Wednesday, October 21 at La Fonda, which will be hosted by LAPL.

A prayer breakfast will also be held on the morning of Friday, October 23 at The Doubletree Hilton Lafayette.

Hope to see you there!

Created by: Martha Mills at 9/14/2015 3:22:57 PM | 0 comments. | 1024 views.
Click on the link below to download our new Membership Application.


Created by: Martha Mills at 9/2/2015 1:49:42 PM | 0 comments. | 1252 views.


By Lauren L. Gardner

Onebane Law Firm

What Does the Future Hold for Imprescriptible Mineral Rights?

In the 2015 Regular Session of the Louisiana legislature, Senator Gallot introduced Senate Bill No. 148, proposing to amend Article IX, Section 4 of the Constitution of Louisiana, to provide that a mineral interest of the state, school board, or levee district, on land belonging to another shall be subject to the same prescription of non-use without interruption as is provided by law for a mineral interest privately held. Senate Bill No. 148 was referred to and debated in Senate Judiciary A Committee, which can be viewed online in the Broadcast Archives of the Louisiana legislature. This bill did not make it out of committee so there will be no Constitutional Amendment proposed to the voters this November and our law on imprescriptible mineral rights remains the same for now.

The changes proposed in this Constitutional Amendment would significantly change our law on imprescriptible mineral rights. Although this bill failed, it is interesting to see if the issue will be brought up again in future sessions. With this bill being introduced, it is worth revisiting our history of the State's ownership in mineral rights, and the imprescriptible nature of those mineral rights. Our laws can be broken down into two categories: (1) those that deal with the issue of the State owning real property and the limitations on its divestiture of same; and (2) those that deal with the State acquiring real property from a private individual or entity where a mineral reservation is involved.

The General Rule is that the State Cannot Alienate its Mineral Rights

Article IV, Section 2 of the 1921 Constitution of Louisiana contained a prohibition against the sale of mineral rights by the State, providing that the mineral rights on any and all property sold by the State shall be reserved, except where the owner or other person having the right to redeem may buy or redeem property sold or adjudicated to the State for taxes. Since the adoption of our 1921 Constitution, except for a redemption of a tax sale, any transfer of property from the State will not include the minerals, regardless of whether a mineral reservation is mentioned in the transfer. While the 1921 Constitution contained a prohibition against the sale of mineral rights by the State, there was no prohibition on the running of prescription against the mineral rights held by the State. The imprescriptibility of these mineral rights is a consequence of their insusceptibility of private ownership under Civil Code Article 450.

Louisiana adopted a new Constitution in 1974. Our current Constitution prohibits the sale of mineral rights by the State; and includes a prohibition against the running of prescription on these mineral rights.Article IX, Section 4 of our Constitution provides that mineral rights on property sold by the state shall be reserved, except when the owner or person having the right to redeem redeems property sold or adjudicated to the state for taxes. Our Constitution further provides that the mineral rights on land contiguous to and abutting navigable water bottoms reclaimed by the state through the implementation and construction of coastal restoration projects shall be reserved, except when the state and the landowner having the right to reclaim or recover the land, have agreed to the disposition of mineral rights in accordance with law. Additionally, our Constitution provides that lands and mineral interests of the state, school board, or levee district shall not be lost by prescription.

Senate Bill No. 148 would not have changed the prohibition that the State cannot divest itself of its mineral rights, but, if passed by the voters, it would have amended our Constitution to allow the running of prescription against those mineral rights retained by the State, school boards, and levee districts.

When a Private Person or Entity Reserves Mineral Rights in a Transfer to the Government or Governmental Authority, the Date of Creation of the Mineral Reservation is Essential in Determining if it Imprescriptible

It should first be noted that the Constitutional amendment proposed in Senate Bill No. 148, if passed, would have had no effect on the law dealing with the reservation of mineral rights in property acquired by the government and governmental agencies, which is discussed below. Our statutory framework for imprescriptible mineral rights began in 1938. The original acts tied the imprescriptible nature of the mineral right at issue with the purpose for which the government acquired the land subject to the mineral right. Act 151 of 1938 provided that when real estate is acquired by the United States of America, the State of Louisiana, or any of its subdivisions, from any person, firm or corporation, for use in any public work and/or improvement, and by the act of acquisition, oil, gas and/or other minerals or royalties are reserved, prescription shall not run against such reservation. Act 68 of 1938 provided that whenever land situated in any spillway or floodway is sold to or acquired by the United States or the State of Louisiana, or any subdivisions or agencies thereof, for use in the construction, operation or maintenance of any spillway or floodway constructed, operated or maintained under the Flood Control Act, or any other Acts of Congress, and the owner of said land reserves or retains the mineral rights in said land, such rights shall be imprescriptible. Both acts were approved by the governor on July 2, 1938.

In 1940, our law changed with the passage of Act 315. This Act provided that when land is acquired by conventional deed or contract, condemnation or expropriation proceedings by the United States Government, or any of its subdivisions or agencies, from any person, firm or corporation, and there is a reservation of the minerals in such act, verdict, or judgment, the land; or the land so acquired is subject to a prior sale or reservation of the minerals, which is still in force and effect, shall be imprescriptible. This Act was approved by the governor on July 20, 1940, and repealed Acts 68 and 151 of 1938. Accordingly, mineral rights reserved in a transfer to the state and federal government were imprescriptible from 1938-1940; but from 1940-1958, only mineral rights reserved in transfers to the federal government were imprescriptible. In 1950, Act 315 of 1940 became known as La. R.S. 9:5806. Act 278 of 1958 added Subsection B. of La. R.S. 9:5806, which provided that when land is acquired by conventional deed or contract, condemnation or expropriation proceedings by the State and any board or commission, created or established by the State of Louisiana, from any person, firm or corporation, and by the act, order or judgment, minerals are reserved, the rights so reserved shall be imprescriptible and shall remain vested in the person, firm or corporation from whom the land was acquired, condemned or expropriated, or in the heirs or assigns of that person, firm or corporation; provided that prescription will begin to run again should the ownership of such land be transferred to a private party. This was the law governing these imprescriptible mineral servitudes until the Louisiana Mineral Code was enacted.

The Louisiana Mineral Code was enacted by Act 50 of 1974, and became effective on January 1, 1975. From January 1, 1975, through August 1, 2004, Louisiana Mineral Code Articles 149 through 152 governed mineral rights in land acquired or expropriated by governments or governmental agencies.

From August 1, 2004, through the present, Mineral Code Article 149, as revised and amended, governs mineral rights acquired by the State and its agencies. This article provides, that when land is acquired by certain "acquiring authorities", as defined therein, through act of sale, exchange, donation, or other contract, or by condemnation or expropriation, and a mineral right is reserved in the instrument or judgment, prescription of that mineral right is interrupted as long as title to the land remains with the acquiring authority, or any successor that is also an acquiring authority. If a mineral right subject to prescription has already been established over land at the time it is acquired by an acquiring authority, the mineral right shall continue to be subject to the prescription of non-use to the same extent as if the acquiring authority had not acquired the land. Upon the extinction of such mineral right, the transferor of the land shall without further action or agreement, become vested with a mineral right identical to that extinguished, provided that the instrument or judgment by which the land was acquired expressly reserves or purports to reserve the mineral right to the transferor, and the land is still owned by an acquiring authority at the time of extinguishment.

Additionally, although not imprescriptible, this article also provides a twenty (20) year prescription of non-use for certain transactions by an acquiring authority or other person, when such transaction is part of an economic development project pursuant to a cooperative endeavor agreement.

Our law on imprescriptible mineral rights has certainly changed and evolved over time. For now, it remains the same, but we should be aware that this issue is on the minds of our legislators and it may be revisited in future legislative sessions and subsequently changed again.

Created by: Martha Mills at 8/25/2015 5:30:53 PM | 0 comments. | 1017 views.


Mandy Barrilleaux, RPL

Hello, hello, hello!!!!!! I would like to start off by saying, welcome back to all of our wonderful members!!!!! And to all of you out there who have been thinking about joining the LAPL or know of someone thinking about joining, we want to extend a welcome to them as well. We would love to have them as part of our association! September 1st marks the official new year for the LAPL, so please keep an eye out for the LAPL Membership Renewal form. This form is for you to review, make changes to and return to us, and will help us in making sure that we have all of your current and up to date information, so that you receive your newsletters, emails and any other information that we send out throughout the year.

We are very excited to announce that we will be having our Annual Kick-Off Party again at Antlers downtown! Last year was a great success and a lot of fun. The date for this event is Sunday, September 13th at 2:30 p.m.. Kick off is at 3 p.m.. This is a great opportunity to apply for or renew your membership, pay your membership dues, or bring a friend that might be interested in joining the LAPL, all while kicking off the football season with many of your friends and colleagues. The Saints will be taking on the Arizona Cardinals. There will be food, drinks, door prizes, cash prizes and of course the Saints game! We will also have a football pool for those who are interested in doing a little betting!  

IF YOU INTERESTED IN HELPING OUT WITH THIS EVENT PLEASE CONTACT:  Jamie Castille, Angela Benedict or Mandy Barrilleaux. You can find their contact information on Page 2, right next to this letter.

Finally, we would like to give a HUGE thank you to all of our amazing sponsors! This event is free because of them. So come on out and meet someone new, introduce a friend to someone, shake someone’s hand! It’s going to be a blast so I hope to see everyone there!!!!!

Created by: Martha Mills at 8/24/2015 8:30:35 PM | 0 comments. | 1038 views.

The LAPL Executive Committee is excited and pleased to announce that we now offer ONLINE REGISTRATION for our regular luncheon/meetings! Starting now, you can sign up for our Friday, September 25, meeting at the Petroleum Club.

Because of PayPal's processings fees, the cost is $22/person, as opposed to $20/person at the door. Also, if you need to register and pay for several people (up to 10), you may do so now ONLINE. However, if you would still prefer to pay at the door, that remains an option. Checks payable to the LAPL are accepted.

To register online, click on the link below. You will find everything you need to know about the September 25 meeting and how to pay.

Register Now! Sept. 25 Luncheon


Created by: Martha Mills at 8/24/2015 11:32:54 AM | 0 comments. | 1054 views.

The Lafayette Association of Professional Landmen annual kickoff party is to be held at Antler's in downtown Lafayette, Louisiana starting at 2:30pm until 8pm on September 13th. Food, fun, football pool with cash prizes and door prizes to be given away. It is free to all who attend and we are welcoming sponsors. Please contact Jamie Castille: (337) 962-9948 or email for more information. We thank you for your continued support!



stonewall logo





2015 Kick off HPS

Lowrys logo

Merlin logo


oil land logo

Reagan logo

totaland 2015 logo



Created by: Martha Mills at 8/24/2015 10:43:11 AM | 0 comments. | 1142 views.

LAPL Supporting Its Future

by Tim Ledet

Last year the LAPL and UL Lafayette Foundation teamed up to establish the PLRM Promise campaign to lend financial support to the Moody College of Business Professional Land and Resource Management Program.  The LAPL committed to a three-year $15,000 donation paying a minimum of $5,000 per year with the first fiscal year commencing August 1, 2014-July 31, 2015.  The final first year tally resulted in $5,783 in contributions.

Year number two commenced August 1, 2015, and the LAPL continues its commitment to encourage additional contributions. Julie Falgout, President and CEO of the UL Lafayette Foundation, established an LAPL account and reminds everyone no amount is too small and all donations are tax deductible.  Instructions on how to give are listed on the flier printed in every newsletter.  Just look for the big red thermometer, usually on page 9.

PLRM Promise donations do not fund the LAPL Scholarship Program but do provide direct university support to the PLRM Program. Scholarships are funded by proceeds from other LAPL annual events, such as the crawfish boil, golf tournament and educational seminars.

The ULL Professional Land and Resource Management Program has taken giant steps of excellence in recent years and our industry is the primary beneficiary.  We’re tops in the nation and strive to stay there.  However, the cost of educating young professionals continues to climb and ULL needs our help.  

Thank you for your consideration and continued support of this important campaign.


Created by: Martha Mills at 8/18/2015 9:46:27 AM | 0 comments. | 1083 views.

American Association of Professional Landmen - Director Update

Damon R. Weger, CPL

August 7, 2015

Networking is important for landmen, and LAPL and AAPL offer many opportunities to do just that!  In our current industry slowdown I feel it is important to urge all of our members to take full advantage of every event that our associations sponsor.

This LAPL Newsletter provides information on our upcoming events as does our website.  Most all of the individuals that I have had the honor to get to know through our association, and through AAPL, are of the highest character and have become close friends.  Further, I feel certain that many business exchanges and company hires are a result of a contact made through LAPL or AAPL.

As your AAPL Director, I feel it important to express my thoughts as how best to take advantage of your LAPL membership and to urge each of you to become involved in AAPL through its networking opportunities and its certification program. First, at the local level it is a good idea to attend as many LAPL events as you can – most of us can’t make all of the events, but it is great to visit with fellow industry friends.  Secondly, get involved in the planning process by helping out at the committee level and maybe working your way up to the Executive Committee where the decisions are made.


Becoming certified in our industry is becoming more important than ever!  Those who we do business with, landowners and company contacts, are quickly becoming more educated as to who we are as landmen and what holds many of us accountable to a set of ethical and educational standards.  Most everyone we meet will communicate with their friends through Facebook or some other social media outlet to let them know what is happening in their daily lives, and when we become a part of that conversation our reputations are exposed for what they are.  All anyone has to do is type in landman and they can find out exactly what certifications are available to us and will then ask you about your education and what holds you accountable to ethical standards.  What will your answer be?

If you have recently entered the landman industry, you may want to start your certification by becoming a Registered Landman (RL).  This is a temporary designation available for landmen who do not have work experience to qualify for the higher certifications of RPL and CPL.  RL signifies a fundamental knowledge of the land industry as well as a landman’s commitment to furthering their education.

Next, the mid-level designation offered by AAPL, Registered Professional Landman (RPL) certification, distinguishes a landman as knowledgeable, experienced and professional.  Finally, the highest designation offered in the energy management industry is the Certified Professional Landman (CPL).  This certification is the standard by which landmen demonstrate their comprehensive competence, proficiency and professionalism in the landman field.


The times may be difficult for some, but as things begin to pick up we will be stronger and more tested.  Become the best that you can through education and networking!


Thank you all for your involvement and may God Bless you.

Damon Weger, AAPL Director

Created by: Martha Mills at 8/17/2015 2:09:01 PM | 0 comments. | 1027 views.

HPS OIL & GAS PROPERTIES, INC. is currently seeking Landmen with a minimum of five (5) years’ experience.  Must be able to perform all tasks associated with Due Diligence Projects.  Interested parties without restrictions on travel and extended out of town stay are preferred.  Please email resume’ to or mail to the following:



P. O. Box 52149

Lafayette, LA 70505

Created by: Martha Mills at 8/17/2015 1:56:59 PM | 0 comments. | 997 views.
The Executive Committee of the LAPL would like to welcome its newest members and applicants:

New Applicants:

David J. Vanicor
Active, Lafayette, LA
David N. Mayeaux
Active, Lafayette, LA
Blaine J. Hebert
Active, Youngsville, LA
Sharon Mouledous
Active, Lafayette, LA
Belinda A. Fife
Active, Lafayette, LA

New Members:

Jason Peterson
Active, Lafayette, LA
Alex Prochaska
Active, Lafayette, LA
Charlie Doucet
Active, Lafayette, LA
Robert W. Scheffy, Jr.
Active, Baton Rouge, LA
Catherine L. Bergeron
Active, Ventress, LA
Roger D. Lehman
Active, Lafayette, LA
If you have any questions about Membership in the LAPL, please contact Mandy Barrilleaux, RPL, at or call 337-962-1922. The LAPL mailing address is P.O. Box 53491, Lafayette, LA  70505.
Created by: Martha Mills at 8/5/2015 3:34:48 PM | 0 comments. | 1011 views.


David Deville, CPL


It is my honor and privilege to serve as the 2015-2016 President for the LAPL.  I look forward to picking up where Mr. Keith Hebert left off.  Those are some big shoes to fill.  For those who don’t know Keith, he is one of the most caring, compassionate people that I have ever met.  I am proud to call him my friend and colleague and especially thankful that he will be around to help out with the challenges we face for the coming year. 

We have some new faces this year on the Executive Committee. I would like to welcome Pete Van Der Veldt as 1st Vice President and Annie Caillouet as Director.  Welcome back Corey Perkins, Angela Benedict, Carolyn Savoy, Bill Bownlee, Sarah Richard, Mandy Barrilleaux, Damon Weger and Martha Mills.  What a fantastic group, and I hope that when our members run into you guys on the street that they stop and say thanks for what you are doing.  Also, welcome back Bill Justice and Sal Micelli.  You two have a special place in my heart because, although you do not hold “official” positions within the committee, you’re always there, you give freely and your guidance and ideas are greatly appreciated.  The LAPL is very fortunate to have had all of you guys serve for so long.  I don’t think that our 529 current members in good standing really know the efforts that have gone in to the planning, execution and accounting for all of the events that take place. 

We will be introducing some new ideas and events this year, and I invite all of the members to contact me or any of the other EC members and ask how you can help.  You can serve as a committee chairman or member.  There will be plenty of opportunities with the Kickoff Party in September, 10 Safety meetings, 7 Monthly Luncheons, Crawfish Boil, Golf Tournament, raising funds for our charities and our PLRM students, GCLI and Annual Directory (NEW!).  That’s not even the complete list!

The LAPL is 68 years old this year.  That’s amazing.  Let us all contemplate that for a minute.  In 1947 our predecessors had the foresight to join together to help one another and our community, and here we are almost 70 years later and still on solid ground because of the efforts of so many or so few depending how you look at it.  Please join us and become an active part of a great organization.  We would love to have you but even more, we would love to know you.

Created by: Martha Mills at 7/20/2015 2:55:55 PM | 0 comments. | 1133 views.

American Association of Professional Landmen - Director News

Damon R. Weger, CPL

Hope you are all having a great summer!  We’ve had a plenty of rain, but hey, we haven’t had to water our lawns.  If you’re like most of us in Louisiana (and our friends in Texas) you are probably thinking about buying a canoe to get across your yard.  I think I just coined a new word – “yard canoe”.

The AAPL Annual Meeting in Nashville has come and gone.  The attendance was a bit lower than usual, with much of the country experiencing the same sluggishness (I guess that’s a word) that we are in the South.  The numbers may have been down, but it was a very good meeting.  Nashville is a great city with much history and the people there are truly special.

Lower attendance has been the trend across the country at networking and educational events.  NAPE Summit was down a bit with 14,946 attendees present.  

As I write this I know that many of you are experiencing the hardship of being out of work.  This is a time for us all, as friends and industry companions, to stick together by sharing ideas and connections to help each other weather these difficult times.  At times it can be hard to find the funds to make it to our LAPL and AAPL events, but this is the time to take advantage of the resources available through our associations – networking and support.  Keep in mind that AAPL continues its 50% rates on seminars and 25% reduced price on materials along with their offer of tuition assistance if you cannot afford an educational event.

Also, if you are getting to the end of your five year certification cycle, the $100.00 fee to re-certify as a CPL will no longer be required every five (5) years.  AAPL has decided that the fee was an undue burden when added to the 50 credit hours and the yearly AAPL membership fee.  Another item of note is that instruction sheets have been added to RL and RPL applications to clarify some concerns that applicants were having when filling out the forms.

As many may have already heard, Marty Schardt, AAPL’s Executive Vice-President, has resigned.  This position is now open and about 17 applicants have put their names in the hat.  The organizational structure that has been in place at AAPL Headquarters for many years has been significantly restructured to account for growth thereby easing the burden placed on an incoming EVP.  There are now several layers of directors/managers that are responsible for decision-making within their scope of authority, which in theory should alleviate some of the pressures of the EVP position.  

Now that the new headquarters is in full use, AAPL management is looking to get the new building paid off ($2.3 million note) by next year.

A survey was sent out by AAPL to its membership on May 28th entitled “Independent Landman Survey”.  They need 30% to respond to this survey in order to help them answer independent contractor issues.  The survey takes about 10 minutes or so to complete and will be very helpful to AAPL.

Forms that have previously been available only through Forms on Disk will soon be available on the AAPL website.  This will finalize their efforts to make all forms that they have available through the website.

Don’t forget to take full advantage of all of the resources that are available at and that the June 30 deadline to renew your AAPL membership has been extended to September 18.

Thank you all for your involvement and may God Bless you.

Damon Weger, AAPL Director

Created by: Martha Mills at 7/14/2015 2:41:09 PM | 0 comments. | 1619 views.


By Colleen C. Jarrott, Esq. 

C. Jacob Gower, Esq. 

Slattery, Marino & Roberts, APLC  

Mineral Lessees Beware!

    Mineral lessees should pay attention to two cases currently pending before the Louisiana Supreme Court: McCarthy v. Evolution Petroleum Corp. (Docket No. 2014-C-2607) and Hayes Fund v. Kerr-McGee Rocky Mountain, LLC (Docket No. 2014-C-2592).  Right now, the Court is considering both cases on the merits, and we anticipate rulings in these cases in the coming months.  The outcome could have alarming consequences for the mineral lessor-lessee relationship, and could undermine years of long-standing legal precedent.  This legal update summarizes both cases and provides their current procedural posture.

McCarthy v. Evolution Petroleum Corp. – A Duty to Speak?

    McCarthy involves the interpretation of a mineral lessee’s obligations to its lessor pursuant to the Louisiana Mineral Code.  Article 122 of the Mineral Code specifically says that a mineral lessee does not owe a “fiduciary obligation” to his lessor.  However, the Louisiana Court of Appeal, Second Circuit ruled that lessees owe an implied duty to disclose information to their lessor regarding the future development of minerals.  If the Second Circuit’s decision is allowed to stand, it will turn the current rule on its head and create a new obligation--the “duty to speak.”  

    Plaintiffs are former royalty owners in the Delhi Unit in Richland Parish.  They claimed that defendant, Evolution Petroleum, in May 2006, improperly obtained their royalty interests by undervaluing their 1/8 interests because Evolution failed to disclose important information about the future development of the unit.  Evolution allegedly sought to obtain the royalty interests of lessors that were either elderly or unsophisticated in oil and gas matters.  The offers were unsolicited by plaintiffs.   At the time of the offers, Evolution was the 100% working interest owner in the Delhi Unit.  

    Plaintiffs argued that Evolution fraudulently induced the sale of their interests by misrepresenting the future value of the minerals.  According to plaintiffs, Evolution did not tell the royalty owners at the time of the offer that it was in the process of negotiating a sale of the unit to Denbury, who would later perform tertiary recovery of about 30-40 million barrels of oil by injecting carbon dioxide into the formation.  As plaintiffs alleged in their petition, it was Evolution’s plan, following the sale to Denbury, to retain certain royalty interests obtained from plaintiffs and profit therefrom on about 9-14 million barrels of oil.  Evolution also did not tell any of the royalty owners about the proven reserves underlying the Delhi Unit.  Because Evolution failed to disclose this information, plaintiffs argued that the sale of their royalty interests should be rescinded.     

    Evolution filed a peremptory exception of no cause of action with the trial court.  This type of exception is triable on the face of the pleadings.  No evidence may be introduced in support of the exception.  The trial court granted Evolution’s exception.  Plaintiffs appealed to the Second Circuit, which reversed and remanded the case to the district court.  The Second Circuit found that Evolution had a duty to speak; that Evolution was aware of the pending sale to Denbury at the time of the offers; and, therefore, as a reasonably prudent operator, it should have told plaintiffs that there was a significant amount of proven reserves remaining in the unit.  

    Plaintiffs claimed that the exception should not have been granted because it was clear from the pleadings that Evolution purposefully left out production valuation information viz. the Denbury deal in order to undervalue its offer(s) to purchase plaintiffs’ royalty interests.  The Second Circuit found that the failure to disclose such information constituted fraud by silence.  The court found that because Evolution was planning a long-term development plan, as a reasonably prudent operator, Evolution was obligated to inform its lessors about said plans and not remain silent.         

    Seemingly, and as the Second Circuit recognized in its decision, this case presents a matter of first impression, meaning it presents novel issues of law that have not been addressed in this context in prior Louisiana oil and gas jurisprudence.  The Second Circuit’s ruling is not supported by current law, nor the express words of the Louisiana Mineral Code.  Article 122 specifically states that a lessee does not owe a fiduciary duty to his lessor.  The Second Circuit’s decision essentially eviscerates this rule and engrafts an implied obligation of a duty to speak as part of the reasonably prudent operator standard.  

    At this time, the Louisiana Supreme Court is considering the case on the merits.  Evolution filed an application for writ of certiorari in December 2014.  That application was supported by a number of amici--AAPL, LOGA and LMOGA.  The Louisiana Supreme Court granted Evolution’s writ application in March 2015.  Evolution submitted its original brief on the merits in May 2015.  That brief was also supported by amici.  Plaintiffs filed their original brief thereafter in June.  The La. Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the case.  

McCarthy v. Evolution Petroleum Corp., 111 So.3d 446 (La. App. 2 Cir. 10/15/14), writ granted, 161 So.3d 646 (La. 03/27/15).  

Hayes Fund v. Kerr-McGee Rocky Mountain, LLC – Pay Up, say Lessors (and the Third Circuit!).

    The outcome of this case will also have consequences for mineral lessees, but in a different way from McCarthy.  This case centered on alleged formation destruction from the drilling of two wells located in Jefferson Davis Parish.  

    Plaintiffs (landowners) claimed that defendants ruined certain oil and gas formations by allowing water to intrude into the formations during drilling operations and by allowing drill pipe to become directionally stuck in the well bores.  Because the formations were “destroyed” as a result of these operations, plaintiffs claimed they were deprived of certain mineral royalties, totaling over $13 million.  In addition, plaintiffs claimed that defendants (1) improperly collaterally attacked two unit orders issued by the Commissioner of Conservation, and (2) that they were entitled to “all damages” given the wording of the surface damages clause of the mineral lease.

    The district court held a trial on these issues in 2012.  The trial spanned 11 months (non-consecutively) and consisted of over 25 days of testimony.  After a full trial on the merits and consideration of the evidence, the trial court found that plaintiffs did not meet their burden of proof and dismissed the case.

    Plaintiffs appealed to the Louisiana Court of Appeal, Third Circuit.  The Third Circuit reversed the ruling of the trial court and awarded plaintiffs over $13 million in damages.  Pursuant to Louisiana law, the Third Circuit is bound to review such cases using a manifest error standard, meaning that the Court must review the record before it but it cannot make its own findings of fact or re-weigh the evidence.  Here, however, the Third Circuit made its own factual findings and credibility determinations about witness testimony, instead of remanding the matter to the district court for further proceedings.     

    The Third Circuit also made the following findings: (1) defendants’ evidence at trial regarding damages constituted a collateral attack on the unit orders of the Commissioner of Conservation because the proper method of determining the amount of royalties due plaintiffs, according to it, was to take the mathematical volume of the geographic unit (the “reserves”) and multiply it times the price of oil; (2) plaintiffs were entitled to all of the damages they sought because the surface damages provision of the mineral lease struck through the restrictive words “timber and growing crops of Lessor,” in the eyes of the Third Circuit meant that plaintiffs were entitled to all damages without any limitations; and (3) the mineral lease did not need to be read as a whole, as required by Louisiana law; rather the sole focus for it was the surface damages clause alone.   

    This case is significant but for all the wrong reasons--it provided for an improper, draconian interpretation of the mineral lease at issue and it provided a misguided understanding of how the collateral attack doctrine is to be applied, pursuant to Louisiana law.  The case was appealed by lessees to the Louisiana Supreme Court in December 2014.  Defendants’ writ application was granted in April 2015, and the matter is currently being considered by the Court on the merits.

Hayes Fund for the First United Methodist Church of Welsh, LLC v. Kerr-McGee Rocky Mountain, LLC, 149 So.3d 280 (La. App. 3 Cir. 10/01/14), writ granted, _____ So.3d _____ (La. 04/17/15).


EPA’s New Rule Regarding the Definition of “Waters of the United States”

    On May 27, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule that allegedly clarifies the definition of “waters of the United States” in the Clean Water Act.  This is a significant rule that should be reviewed by all landowners, farmers and lessees with onshore operations.  The rule has the potential to cause an increased cost of operation because it requires that a permit be obtained from EPA prior to any work on “waters of the United States,” which could include certain tributaries, ditches or other small waterbodies as defined in the new rule.  For a copy of the rule, visit:



Created by: Martha Mills at 7/9/2015 3:52:50 PM | 0 comments. | 1136 views.

Oil Crisis: Is anyone guarding his assets? Anyone? Anyone?

I’ve been wondering about something lately and have been asking around. The reaction I get reminds me of the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. Remember the teacher asking the class history questions, getting no response, and saying “Anyone, Anyone”?

Ferris Bueller - Ben Stein - History Teacher

Have you heard of the term “contango”? This is a situation where the futures price (or forward price) of a commodity is higher than the expected spot price. Sound familiar? This is what is happening with oil today; “I’m not selling my oil today, because it will be worth more tomorrow.” In the past, producers would produce the oil or a buyer would buy oil today and store it, and then wait for prices to go up before selling or simply forward sell at the higher price. The trick is that the cost of storage has got to be lower than the spread between the spot price and futures price. This is an old technique in our business, but now has a new twist.

E&P companies, primarily in the shale, are doing something unusual. They are drilling wells, but not completing all of them. As a general rule in 2013 The Hess Corporation said the average cost to drill a well in the Bakken was $4.8 mm to drill and $3.0 mm to complete. The backlog of wells drilled, but not completed, has been given the name “fracklog”, and it’s a growing trend. According to Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, “About 85 percent of U.S. wells aren’t being completed right now…” Bloomberg reports that there are over 3,000 of these wells.

Let’s say you drill, but don’t complete the well, to save the “completion cost,” hedge your bets, and wait for higher prices. You are effectively storing the oil in a natural reservoir (“contango”) and building a fracklog inventory. The big question is, how are your leases going to be maintained? Every lease I have ever seen, and that’s a whole lot of leases, has a shut in provision which allows the operator to pay to extend the lease beyond the primary term if the well is shut in, but only for a fixed period of time and usually only if it is “capable of producing”. What I don’t know is whether or not this growing list of fracklog wells can be classified as “shut-in”?

What happens if the same lease has vertical or horizontal pugh clauses? It is estimated that over 65% of leases taken in the shale plays contain horizontal and/or vertical pugh clauses, with an even higher rate of horizontal and/or vertical segregations on resulting assignments. I’m calling this the “commoditization or valuation on a formation basis.” The question I have is will the shut-in payment on non-completed wells hold all of the lease or only the unitized/pooled acreage by depth or even any of the lease? If it does, what about the non-pooled acreage and all “deeper” depths?

This is not just an academic question. It is truly a big financial question. If these non-completed wells cannot hold lease acreage or deeper depths, how will that affect the “reserve” values of the companies? I was looking at the difference between Proved Developed Producing Reserves (PDP) and non-producing reserves (which goes by many names, like Proved Undeveloped Reserves, Potential Reserves, and Resource Potential) listed on the investor presentations of several big shale E&P companies. What I found interesting is the huge spread between the two categories! Non-producing reserves were usually around 6-10 times greater than Proved Develop Producing reserves.

So the question still remains, if you don’t complete the well, how are you going to hold all those leases, which obviously hold all those reserves, which make up a major portion of the company asset value? After speaking with a number of oil & gas attorneys and principles of E+P companies, I haven’t found anyone who feels confident about an answer in either direction.

I think it is going to be a huge factor in how a company maintains its “undeveloped” acreage position and thus its balance sheet asset valuations. We have spent a year developing our program to tell you exactly which leases, which depths, and what acreage your company will lose and how much it will cost to keep that acreage for the next year.

So what do you think about the scenario at hand? Anyone? Anyone?

Created by: Martha Mills at 7/2/2015 4:16:04 PM | 0 comments. | 1197 views.

The Executive Committee of the LAPL would like to welcome its newest members and applicants:

New Applicants:

Jason Peterson, Active, Lafayette, LA

Alex Prochaska, Active, Lafayette, LA

Charlie Doucet, Active, Lafayette, LA

Robert W. Scheffy, Jr., Active, Baton Rouge, LA

Catherine L. Bergeron, Active, Ventress, LA

Roger D. Lehman, Active, Lafayette, LA

New Members:

Charles F. Bull, Active, Lafayette, LA

J. Harris Ledoux, Active, West Monroe, LA

William "Bill" Stout, Active, Lafayette, LA

Created by: Martha Mills at 7/1/2015 12:47:01 PM | 0 comments. | 1052 views.
REMINDER:  Deadline to renew your AAPL membership has been extended through September 18th.  Please renew today
Created by: Martha Mills at 5/1/2015 3:22:28 PM | 0 comments. | 1216 views.


Bill Brownlee

Another Spring, another Spring Seminar. As routine sets in, it is easy to overlook the significance of many things that we accept as routine. Our LAPL Seminars, for instance, can easily be taken for granted.

The last couple of years, I have had the pleasure of working in Texas surrounded by Landmen who primarily live and work in Texas. When these Landmen talk about going to a one day seminar for 7 credits, they speak of paying $400 - $700. They complain about how much it costs to keep up their CE hours, and I don’t blame them.

We members of LAPL have the HUGE benefit of a relationship with our local Oil and Gas Attorneys. These Attorneys give us presentations, for free, in exchange for their CE hours with the Louisiana Bar Association. Those of us who have attended the last several seminars must agree that many of these presentations, had we hired a speaker at today’s prices, would have cost $2000 or more each. For example, I tried to get an economist from Baton Rouge to speak at this year’s seminar, the price was near $4000 for a one hour presentation. Not an option.

My point? We get about 50 – 70 attendees at each of our seminars. We have 7 presentations, all excellent, for 7 credit hours. At a mere $2000 per presentation, that’s $14,000 worth of presentations that we get for free. It is easy to see how the price per person can approach $400 to $700, yet we pay $100, and that includes a breakfast and lunch, and take home materials, and usually a door prize of some sort. The price pays for the use of the building, the catering, and the cost of printing the materials. WHAT A BARGAIN!! Plus, at this year’s Spring Seminar you will hear the President of AAPL, Roger A. Soape, speak during lunch.

Take advantage of this educational windfall! Register today.