Oil & Gas Law

Bismarck, North Dakota Oil & Gas Law Attorney

Oil & gas are among the most valued natural resources in the United States. From individuals to corporations, anyone who can own property also has the ability to own oil & gas rights. Even federal, state and local governments can be owners. Thus, oil & gas law almost always begins by determining who owns any of the natural resources that may exist on a plot of land. In addition to this, much of oil & gas mining is enacted via lease agreements from private individuals to third-party oil & gas companies. Because of the complex nature of the industry, it is not uncommon for legal issues to occur.

The oil & gas industry is notoriously large and powerful. As a private individual, going up against an oil & gas company on your own can be intimidating. In fact, it may even seem impossible. If an oil & gas company has breached a contract with you by breaking a lease, not paying you your proper royalties, or if your rights have been otherwise violated, you do not need to try to resolve these complex matters on your own. Protect your rights and seek the help of a skilled and experienced gas & oil attorney today. We can help you with a wide array of oil & gas-related legal issues, even if you are just seeking legal counsel on the next step to take.

At Germolus Knoll & Leibel, LLP, our team draws from 60 years of combined legal experience to protect and fight for your rights. We are committed to our clients and their success and will stop at nothing to get you the results you are entitled to.  We provide excellent legal services to each and every single one of our clients, no matter how “small” you may feel up against an oil & gas company. We have helped countless clients successfully close their cases, and we can help you too.

Areas of Oil & Gas Law That We Handle

Oil & gas rights fall under the broader umbrella of mineral rights. Similarly, oil & gas law covers a vast array of issues. Because oil and gas are so valuable and mining requires such careful consideration of planning and procedures, it can be hard to try to navigate oil & gas-related legal issues without legal expertise on your side. We can help you with the following areas of oil & gas law and more:

Acquisitions & Divestitures: We know that independent oil & gas operators have to be focused on optimizing production by identifying and closing the best possible deal. Our attorneys can help you draft, negotiate, and analyze acquisition agreements, assignments of interests, joint operating agreements, and more. We can also assist you with identifying or curing any existing title defects.

 Contracts: Especially in oil & gas law related cases, a good contract can almost always help avoid disaster. We can help you draft, evaluate, and negotiate various types of contracts with oil & gas companies. We assist with identifying our clients’ most significant concerns and how to address them in their oil & gas contracts. In doing so, we take multiple factors into consideration, such as price, risk allocation, and on-time performance. We are also experienced in defining parties’ rights and obligations, as well as negotiating any special rights that may be engendered by special circumstances.

Due Diligence: We are proficient in navigating all the ins and outs of due diligence, including coordinating and participating in regional and multi-state transactions. We are able to get involved during any step in the process, from before bidding and during contract due diligence periods. Our lawyers will work with you to help you develop the best possible course of action for a purchase, prepare various ways to help you and your team to execute the plan and to gather information in the most appropriate manner. We are experienced in working with title review of the county’s environmental review of oil & gas producing properties and associated assets, preferential rights to purchase, and similar matters.

Environmental Counseling: It can be difficult to keep up with all the various rules and regulations put on oil & gas production. Our lawyers can help you figure out all the necessary steps to take in order to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. We can assist you in preparing your environmental impact statements and environmental assessments. We will work with you to obtain licenses and permits from all relevant authorities, including FERC and local, federal, and state regulatory bodies.

Landowner Representation: Our lawyers are experienced in representing landowners against big oil & gas companies in all cases of contract negotiations, option agreements, acquiring permits, use agreements, and more. We understand that the oil & gas lease is the most important document in your relationship with any oil & gas company. We can help you negotiate these leases in order to maximize your per acre bonus and royalty payments while protecting your property.

 Liens: Operators, contractors, and subcontractors who have worked, furnished machinery, or provided supplies on oil & gas wells can initiate liens upon them and their mineral property. Such liens have the capability of suspending production payments and putting constraints on borrowing, leading to an inevitable breach of trust. While oil & gas liens may at first seem similar to mechanics’ liens, we know that there are important industry-specific nuances to take into consideration so as to minimize any potential losses on our client’s behalf. We can help you whether you are fighting against a lien or are in the midst of trying to establish one.

Right of Way Easements: Some advanced planning is needed in order to obtain an easement from North Dakota’s Department of Trust Lands. The process generally takes about a month to complete from beginning to end. It must be obtained prior to any construction taking place, and the expected time for a review to be completed in is about two to four weeks. Applicants must take care to have proposed routes parallel any existing corridors or section lines as much as possible, while also taking consideration to avoid stream channels or wooded areas. There are several types of easements in North Dakota, such as easements by necessity, express easements, implied easements, and prescript easements. Challenging an easement may be difficult, as there are certain circumstances for how it could be argued to a court of law.

 Rule of Capture & Correlative Rights: Rule of capture dictates that a landowner has the right to capture and mine all of the oil & gas on their land—even if the resources have run onto the landowner’s property from another piece of land. This rule encourages landowners to drill on and explore the area. Despite this, the correlative rights rule dictates that a landowner must “explore” their land responsibly in order to minimize any potential waste or negligence. In such cases, it can be hard to approximate a reasonable means of proceeding. A competent oil & gas attorney from Germolus Knoll & Leibel, LLP can help.

 Underpayment of Royalties and Other Royalty Disputes: It can be difficult to make sure that you are being paid fairly for your natural resources. Establishing a market value and assuring that oil and gas are being measured properly is vital to ensuring proper payment. Fortunately, we are able to help. The legal team at Germolus Knoll & Leibel, LLP will do everything in our power to get you the royalties you deserve. We understand how to navigate such issues as defective division, nonpayment or delayed payment of royalties, disputes between producing companies and lease beneficiaries and producing companies, and more.

 Whatever oil & gas-related issues you run into, we can help. We understand the quirks and the problems unique to the industry, and our tenacious lawyers have decades of real-world experience that is required to prepare you for the next step. We work hard to fight for private individuals’ legal rights against big oil & gas companies. Our commitment to evening the playing field for you means we will give your case the attention and devotion it deserves.

Experienced North Dakota Oil & Gas Law Attorney

The oil & gas industry has been booming in North Dakota, and our state’s abundance of natural resources will likely ensure that it stays that way for some time. Be prepared when you are dealing with large energy companies. Armor yourself with strong legal representation as soon as you need it. Let us help you. Germolus Knoll & Leibel, LLP is a trusted law firm located in the Bismarck area that is ready to fight for you and your rights so you can focus on your continued and future success. We can represent you in any number of oil & gas law related issues and help prevent further occurrences of disaster.

Oil & gas laws can be complex and confusing to try to understand and handle on your own. We can help you resolve your case as expediently as possible. In some cases, we may even be able to help you avoid arbitration. If you need help with contract negotiation, fighting against an oil company, or are dealing with any other oil & gas law related issue, do not hesitate to call the highly qualified and experienced attorneys at Germolus Knoll & Leibel, LLP. With over 60 years of combined legal experience, our lawyers can help represent you against oil companies, negotiate right of way easements, negotiate contracts, and more. Our lawyers will work hard to get you the best outcome in your oil and gas law case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.