Skip to content

Energy Litigation

With nearly a century of experience that runs from the wellhead to Wall Street, Vinson & Elkins’ Energy Litigation lawyers combine their technical proficiency in energy operations, robust understanding of the business side of the energy industry, and decades of experience as lead counsel, to advise clients in nearly every kind of energy-related dispute.

Our experience extends across the full range of upstream, midstream, and downstream disputes. It includes matters relating to exploration, production, oilfield services, gathering, compression, processing, pricing, pipelines, and LNG, as well as all aspects of power generation, transmission, and sales. We are also market leaders in the unconventional oil and gas space, regularly advising on horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing matters.

Scope of Representation

Clients, ranging from producers and refiners to the world’s largest integrated energy companies, depend on our trial lawyers to understand the industry’s intricacies and to try business disputes at all levels of state and federal courts, and before international arbitration tribunals.

Counseling & Pre-Litigation Advice

In addition to providing advice on complex disputes, clients often come to us for our understanding of their unique business needs. We regularly provide proactive legal counseling to help clients avoid litigation or to strategically position themselves in the event of litigation. By involving us early in the process, our clients are often able to avoid costly litigation or serious disruptions to their businesses and operations.

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

  • (5th Cir.); (N.D. Tex.) — Won and upheld summary judgment in bankruptcy court, federal district court, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of an independent oil and gas company on title claims related to leases and wells in the Barnett Shale

  • (5th Cir.) — Obtained a judgment for a producer of oil on the Alaskan North Slope for $14 million (net) for breach of the pricing formula of a crude oil sales contract involving price adjustments for Quality Bank credits on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline

  • (La. App. – Shreveport) — Represented an oil and gas exploration and production company in appealing a fraud finding that nullified a multimillion dollar oil and gas lease; the matter was resolved successfully after the Louisiana appellate court reversed the trial court’s judgment

  • (Wyo. Dist.) — Obtained a False Claims Act victory fifteen years in the making on behalf of natural gas pipeline clients in a multidistrict litigation in Wyoming involving the alleged systemic manipulation of natural gas measurements resulting in alleged underpayment of billions of dollars of natural gas royalties owed to the federal government

  • (N.M. Dist.) — Obtained a “no breach” jury verdict in a class action royalty case in New Mexico state court involving allegations of under-valuation of CO2 produced for injection into oil reservoirs in the Permian Basin

  • (Tex. Dist.) — Obtained a take-nothing jury verdict in a six-week trial on behalf of an exploration and production company involving royalty owners’ claims for $75 million based on alleged failure to timely engage in enhanced recovery efforts and alleged royalty underpayments

  • (Tex. Dist. − Starr Cnty.) — Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a multinational energy company against landowner’s trespass and conversion claims seeking more than $100 million

  • (5th Cir.) — Defended U.S. oil companies in garnishment proceedings filed by a judgment creditor of an African foreign state seeking garnishment of royalty and tax obligations owed to the foreign state under a concession agreement for the exploration and production of oil in the foreign state, obtaining rulings from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals holding that the garnishment writs were improper

  • (5th Cir.) — Tried and obtained a favorable judgment on behalf of a crude oil purchaser in Texas federal court and the Fifth Circuit in a lawsuit brought by a former affiliated entity alleging negligence and breach of fiduciary duty 

  • Tried and obtained a favorable jury verdict in Texas state court on behalf of a domestic oil and gas company, defending against claims of breach of contract, underpayment of royalties, and fraud