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Energy Contract Disputes

Vinson & Elkins’ Energy Dispute lawyers possess unsurpassed knowledge and experience in oil and gas operations, and the environmental and regulatory issues influencing the entire industry value chain. From exploration and production issues, through gathering, processing, and transportation, to the downstream sectors and marketing, our lawyers are at the forefront of the rapidly evolving energy landscape in energy producing regions worldwide. Clients draw upon our decades of experience representing companies with energy-related contractual issues, including producers, gatherers, processors, refiners, pipelines, and retail enterprises.



Scope of Practice

Our global reputation as a leader in energy litigation stems from our extensive experience handling disputes brought before state and federal courts, arbitration tribunals, and state and federal administrative and regulatory agencies. Our experience encompasses the full range of commercial agreements, including oil and gas leases, joint operating agreements, gas gathering and processing agreements, purchase and sale agreements, farm-out agreements, and other key contracts. We provide industry knowledge, tested advocacy skills, and essential case management to all energy-related contractual lawsuits to help our clients meet their business goals.


Thorough Representation, from Pre-Litigation Counsel to Jury Verdict

Our lawyers serve the diverse needs of our global clients by developing an early understanding of each client’s unique business objectives and, when necessary, aggressively employing an offensive discovery and motion practice. Should litigation become inevitable, our seasoned litigators are prepared to lead all types of complex litigation, including class actions and multi-district litigation, through all stages of trial and appeal.

Experience Highlights

  • (La.) — Represented U.S. exploration and production company in the Louisiana Supreme Court in a US$70 million oil and gas dispute dealing with whether a joint operating agreement (JOA), written on the AAPL model form, covers future-acquired leases in the absence, from the JOA, of an area of mutual interest provision

  • (Tex. App. − El Paso) ; (Tex. Dist. — El Paso Cty.) — Defended a Houston-based energy firm and obtained a favorable jury verdict in a $400 million (net) damage suit arising from the termination of an oil supply contract with a refinery involving claims of usury, breach of contract, fraud, and various business torts; the matter was upheld by the El Paso Court of Appeals, and petition before the Texas Supreme Court was denied

  • (Tex. Dist.) — Obtained a take-nothing jury verdict in a case against a major oil company involving contract and tort claims arising out of an assignment of rights under an operating agreement in which the plaintiff sought damages in excess of $100 million

  • (Tex. Dist.) — Represented multiple oil and gas production companies in Texas state court on gas contract disputes involving more than $250 million brought against purchasers, primarily alleging breach of take-or-pay and minimum take provisions in the contracts. These matters were successfully prosecuted, resulting in extensive recoveries by our clients

  • Represented producer that obtained a take-nothing arbitration award in an AAA-administered arbitration involving claims by limited partners in four oil and gas limited partnerships that the general partners breached the limited partnership agreements and their fiduciary duties by dissolving the limited partnerships and purchasing the properties that had been held in the partnerships

  • (Tex. Dist.) — Defended multiple oil and gas exploration and production companies in Texas state court in various lawsuits brought by non-operating working interest owners alleging breach of contract under the COPAS accounting provisions of certain Joint Operating Agreements. These matters were successfully defended and/or settled on terms acceptable to our client

  • Represented a major oil and gas company in an AAA-administered arbitration involving claims arising out of a contract for gas storage services

  • (S.D. Tex.) — Obtained a favorable jury verdict in federal court in Houston on claims by a California company for breach of a contract relating to the construction of a horizontal drilling rig for use in Japan

  • Obtained a directed verdict in favor of a major oil company in a case involving breach of contract and tort claims asserted by a working interest owner in a gas field

  • Obtained favorable settlement on behalf of plaintiff operator in week-long arbitration against co-working interest owner for breach of joint operating agreement