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Property & Environmental Damage: Oil & Gas

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You may be entitled to damages if an oil and gas company violates land protection terms of your lease by polluting, abandoning drilling equipment, altering drainage, or damaging oil or gas reserves. Oil and gas companies have an obligation to protect a landowners' property from environment harm. Environmental damage threatens the agricultural, grazing, and development potential of the land. Responsible companies can employ drilling and production methods that minimize damage to the leased property. But when an oil and gas company prioritizes its own profits over concern for the environment, the results can harm your property and the environment for years.

Proper precautions are necessary to protect land from potential environmental problems. Yet even with precautions in place accidents can still occur. When they do, there are specific protocols that must be followed to properly remediate pollutants after a spill or other damaging event. Failure on the part of oil and gas operators to completely and thoroughly remediate after such an accident can leave your land and water polluted for years.

Property Damage from Drilling Operations in Texas

Drilling for oil and gas can be a messy business. Heavy equipment can damage roads and fields. Earth moving equipment can clog creeks and block drainage. Leaking tanks can pollute ponds and creeks. Intentionally or otherwise abandoned equipment can litter your land. For these reasons property damage and conservation issues, including explicit assignment of the responsibility to cleanup, should be addressed in new oil and gas leases, and many existing leases should have land protection clauses in them.

If an oil and gas company produces a nearby well at too high a rate, it can damage oil and gas reserves under your property. Oil and gas operators have a duty under Texas law not to produce wells at such a high rate that the methods of production cause damage to reserves under nearby tracks of land. Such damage may constitute negligence on the part of the operator, making them potentially liable for money damages and punitive damages.

For example, hydraulic fracturing methods now commonly used to extract gas from "tight" reservoirs like the Barnett Shale in Texas, carry a danger that the fracture will propagate too far and enter into another formation. Adjacent formations may be water bearing and could result in the well having to be abandoned.

Our Houston Oil & Gas Attorneys Can Help You

If a company violated the land protection clauses of your lease or failed to take reasonable measures to protect your land from environmental harm, you may be entitled to damages. Depending on the circumstances you may be able to bring suit for both actual and punitive damages. An experienced litigation attorney can explain your options.

For a free consultation to discuss any property or environmental damage, contact a Houston oil and gas lawyer today.

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