Property & Environmental Damage Attorneys
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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 must protect a landowners' property from environmental 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. However, when an oil and gas company prioritizes its 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. Even with precautions in place, accidents can still occur. When they do, there are specific protocols that must be followed to remediate pollutants after a spill or other damaging event properly.
Failure on the part of oil and gas operators to properly remediate after a spill or other 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.
Property damage and conservation issues, including explicit assignment of the responsibility to clean up, should be addressed in new oil and gas leases and many existing leases should have land protection clauses included within them.
If an oil and gas company produces a nearby well too quickly, it can damage 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 nearby reserves. Such damage may constitute negligence on the part of the operator, making them potentially liable for money and punitive damages. For example, hydraulic fracturing now commonly used to extract gas from "tight" reservoirs like the Barnett Shale 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.
Oil & Gas Operations: Property Damage FAQ
What type of property damage is covered under my lease with the oil or gas company?
When oil and gas companies lease land to perform drilling operations, they have an obligation to comply with the land protection terms of the lease. This may include preventing or cleaning up environmental pollution, removing equipment and machinery, or repairing damage to roads and fields. The type of damage and the responsibility of the oil or gas company to restore your property or compensate you for damage will depend on your lease agreement. If the company violated your lease, you could be entitled to financial compensation for any harm this caused, plus punitive damages in some cases. Your best option is to have an experienced attorney review your lease and determine whether you have a case.
What damage can oil and gas operations cause to my land?
Abandoned equipment, polluted water sources, ruined roads and fields, and damaged reserves are all examples of property and environmental damage caused by improper oil and gas operations. Drilling is complicated, hazardous, and messy, but this is no excuse for significant property damage or environmental harm. Whether your property was damaged because of a blowout, explosion, or another catastrophe, or as a result of unsafe or improper drilling and remediation, you could have grounds for a lawsuit against the oil company.
What is my property damage case worth?
Every case is different, and the value of your case will depend on the extent of damage and how it occurred. In cases of significant property damage and a blatant disregard for the terms of your land protection clause, or violations of environmental protection laws, you could be entitled to a considerable amount of compensation—not only to repair and remediate your property but to punish the company for misconduct. You can get a better picture of your case’s worth by talking to an attorney who has experience with these matters.
Our Houston Oil & Gas Attorneys Can Help You. Call (888) 493-1629 Now.
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.
When negligent oil and gas extraction and cleanup operations lead to property damage, we're there to hold at-fault parties accountable. Call our experienced oil and gas lawyers now for help at (888) 493-1629.