FEDERAL - REGULATORY: Energy Secretary Confirmed. (Update to 11/4/19 Weekly Report) On December 2, Dan Brouillette was confirmed as the next U.S. Department of Energy Secretary in a bipartisan U.S. Senate vote of 70-15. President Trump selected Brouillette, a Louisiana native, as Rick Perry’s replacement after Perry announced his departure. Brouillette served as Deputy Secretary of Energy and also worked under President George W. Bush as well as Chief of Staff for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce. He also served as a member of Louisiana’s State Mineral and Energy Board. Read more.
STATE - JUDICIAL: Leasing; Lack of Production – Ohio. On November 26, the Ohio Supreme Court addressed “which statute of limitations applies to a claim for declaratory judgment that an oil and gas lease has terminated by its terms and by operation of law due to lack of production.” In the case, Browne c. Artex Oil Co. (Case No. 2019-Ohio-4809), the Court held “that the applicable statute is R.C. 2305.04, which states that an action to recover title to or possession of real property shall be brought within 21 years after the cause of action accrues.” In Browne, “the lessee argued that an action like the case at bar was subject to the 15-year statute of limitations for actions upon written contracts in former R.C. 2305.06. The Court disagreed. The Court noted that the lessors were not alleging a breach of the oil and gas lease but were simply requesting a declaration that the oil and gas lease had terminated by its terms through operation of law. This claim was more akin to an action to quiet title than one upon a written contract, the Court found, as the lessee had no obligation to produce under the lease and the parties did not dispute the lease’s provisions.” Read more.INDUSTRY NEWS: U.S. sets natural gas records in 2018. According to the latest U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report, Natural Gas Annual 2018, the U.S. set new records in natural gas production, consumption, and exports in 2018. This was the largest percentage increase since 1951 and the largest volumetric increase in the history of the series, which dates back to 1930. Natural gas consumption increased by 11% in 2018 and natural gas exports grew by 14% over 2017. Read more.