Energy and Oil & Gas

  • Overview
  • Team

Over the years, McAfee & Taft lawyers have represented clients involved in virtually every aspect of the energy industry. In many instances, they truly pioneered the field, such as when founder Kenneth McAfee filed to establish the first public drilling fund in the early 1950’s, and when co-founder Richard Taft filed the first registration statement of a foreign drilling fund, and the two of them developed many novel approaches to oil and gas tax planning. Early on they were joined by Eugene O. Kuntz, noted author of the multi-volume Kuntz: A Treatise on the Law of Oil and Gas and generally considered to be the expert on oil and gas law nationwide. The firm’s leadership in finding creative solutions to legal issues in the energy business has quite naturally continued since those early innovative years.

Today, many of the firm’s attorneys continue to devote a considerable portion of their practice to various aspects of the energy industry. While the firm has a long-standing tradition of representing companies engaged in oil and gas exploration and production, our energy practice has expanded over the years to encompass midstream and downstream operations, renewable and sustainable energy projects, and all aspects of regulatory and environmental compliance.

As one might expect in a largely energy-based economy, the firm’s clients include numerous small and medium-sized independent oil and gas companies as well as large publicly held energy companies and Fortune 500 corporations, oil and gas operators, drilling contractors, oilfield service companies, equipment designers and manufacturers, investors and lenders in energy-related transactions, crude oil and petroleum products pipeline companies, natural gas transmission and distribution pipeline companies, refineries, transportation and marketing companies, alternative energy companies, wind farm developers, and landowners of property on which wind farms are located. Clients of the firm are involved a wide spectrum of energy operations throughout the United States and Canada, offshore and overseas.

Both the firm’s Energy and Oil & Gas Group and its individual attorneys have been well-recognized for their expertise. The Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business has awarded McAfee & Taft its highest rankings in the area of Energy and Natural Resources Law each year since it began its evaluations, and the firm has the most attorneys singled out for individual honors in Oklahoma. In addition, Houston, TX-based EnergyPoint Research, Inc. awarded McAfee & Taft its highest ratings for overall customer satisfaction in its inaugural legal services survey. The firm was one of only six law firms nationally to receive the industry-leading four-ribbon rating.

Firm lawyers are also actively involved in industry matters, both in leadership roles in industry organizations and as featured speakers at forums and events throughout the region and nationally. These include the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Independent Petroleum Association of America, Center for American and International Law, Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, Mineral Lawyers Society of Oklahoma City, Eugene Kuntz Conference on Natural Resources Law and Policy, National Oil and Gas Royalty Conference, Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies, National Association of Lease and Title Analysts, National Association of Division Order Analysts, Association of Oil Pipelines, American Petroleum Institute, International Right of Way Association, American Gas Association, NACE, Gas Processors Association, Dallas Bar Association Energy Law Section, Oklahoma Bar Association, and the American Bar Association’s Section on Environment, Energy and Resources.

Comprehensive Legal and Business Services

Corporate, Business and Growth Strategies

The firm’s representation of energy clients in corporate and business matters largely involves the structuring and negotiation of purchase, sale, financing, recapitalization, equity investment, AMI, farmout, lease, drilling, and similar transactions with respect to oil and gas properties and energy industry businesses, including securities offerings for oil and gas drilling programs and funds. The firm also represents energy clients with respect to day-to-day operational and business matters, and historically has done oil and gas title work and represented clients before all applicable regulatory authorities when economically feasible to do so for those clients. We have also served as special tax counsel to major oil companies in complex deals such as tax-deferred split-off transactions and multibillion dollar transactions between energy companies.

Our business and transaction tax planning practice encompasses a wide variety of substantive areas, including partnership taxation, S Corporation and C Corporation taxation, international taxation, state taxation, tax planning related to company/shareholder agreements, entity choice and conversion, internal reorganizations for restructuring for multi-company groups, mergers and acquisitions, and like-kind exchanges as well as planning for gains/losses, income recognition, cancellation of indebtedness issues, state and federal deductions and tax credits, business incentives and alternative minimum tax planning.

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

McAfee & Taft trial attorneys try significant oil and gas cases in the course of their general litigation practice, and much of the work of our real estate, banking, creditor’s rights and bankruptcy lawyers involves the energy industry as well.

In recent years, we have represented major oil and gas companies in lawsuits involving such issues as the Oklahoma Production Revenue Standards Act, Oklahoma Surface Damages Act, nuisance, trespass and conversion, breach of contract or implied covenant, payment of royalties, quiet title, lease cancellation, adverse possession, alleged price discrimination, Corporation Commission matters, products liability, negligence and wrongful death, and environmental matters, including contribution claims arising out of alleged pollution sites and  contribution/indemnity actions arising out of Superfund sites. Our lawyers have also defended statewide, multistate and nationwide class action lawsuits for nuisance and environmental matters.

The firm has also represented clients in a significant number of cases involving claims by large numbers of landowners, royalty owners and others related to oil and gas production and/or development. Most have included tort or tort-type claims with punitive damage allegations. Some have included class action allegations, but most have involved either one lawsuit with many plaintiffs or multiple lawsuits. In these cases, the coordinated handling and efficient analysis of large volumes of information has been required, and the trials have been extended proceedings lasting as long as three months.

Environmental, Regulatory, Health & Safety Counseling

The firm routinely provides counsel to energy companies on a broad range of regulatory and environmental issues and has developed particular experience in the areas of liabilities and exposures assessment, compliance planning and programs, worker safety (OSHA) enforcement and regulation, security issues, SCADA issues, transportation issues, spill response and remediation, waste management issues including scope and availability of exemptions, site remediation, land application and underground injection well permitting and operation, and environmental permitting, compliance and enforcement. Our attorneys also represent affected parties in state and federal enforcement actions, rulemaking and adjudicatory proceedings.

Employment, Labor and Employee Benefits

McAfee & Taft’s Labor & Employment Group represents energy companies of all sizes, including several Fortune 500 companies, in employment-related matters. Such experience has given us special insight and a keen understanding of dynamics that are specific to the industry. We understand the challenges of maintaining remote locations and the dynamics associated with working with independent contractors and employees of vendors, and we provide guidance as to the best ways to ensure a safe and productive workplace — one that reflects the client’s culture and values.

Our services encompass a broad range of workplace issues, including litigation avoidance, hiring and interviewing techniques, Fair Labor Standards Act compliance, policies and procedures, independent contractor agreements, discrimination and retaliation claims, drug and alcohol testing, occupational safety and health compliance, Form I-9 audits and investigations, discipline and termination, merger hiring decision analysis, severance program decisions and individual severance agreements, management and supervisor training, and general employee and HR training.

Our employee benefits and executive compensation attorneys assist industry clients of all sizes in designing and administering health and welfare plans, qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) to help employers attract and retain talented and motivated employees. We also advise clients on all areas of executive compensation, including equity compensation arrangements (such as stock option, phantom stock and restricted stock award plans), long-term incentive awards and supplemental retirement plans.

Much of our work also involves helping clients reduce expenses as well as minimize risks and financial liabilities. In the area of health and welfare plans, we assist energy companies in analyzing plan design and developing strategies to reduce costs. We also counsel employers on health care reform compliance, COBRA, HIPAA, and funding and taxation issues; litigate plan-related claims; and manage the employee benefits and compensation aspects of merger and acquisition transactions for which the firm provides corporate legal services.

Patents and Other Intellectual Property Rights

McAfee & Taft’s intellectual property attorneys assist energy clients in enhancing revenue, protecting competitive positions, and maximizing brand value by securing and defending their rights to valuable inventions and technology, trademarks and other intellectual property.

Over the years, M&T attorneys have represented numerous major oil companies in intellectual property matters and prepared and prosecuted hundreds of U.S. and foreign patent applications directed to inventions relating to all phases of oil and gas production and refinement technologies. Other services include infringement analysis, freedom to operate studies (including assistance in designing around third party patents), portfolio management, due diligence associated with mergers and acquisitions, M&A cleanup and assignment, licensing and other intellectual property agreements, and counseling clients on how best to protect their confidential and proprietary information as trade secrets.

As an Oklahoma-based law firm with a long history of serving energy clients, our patent attorneys have a unique understanding of, and insight into, the business concerns and operations of the industry. All of our patent attorneys have dealt with oil and gas-related technology, particularly apparatus and processes used in drilling, completion and production. In addition, two of our patent attorneys previously served as in-house patent counsel for a Fortune 500 energy company, and another worked as an engineer for an oilfield services company before joining the firm.

mt_ig_team
Sasha L. Beling
Shareholder
(405) 270-6011
Jeremy M. Black
Shareholder
(405) 552-2289
T. Michael Blake
Shareholder
(405) 552-2317
Timothy J. Bomhoff
Shareholder, Director
(405) 552-2339
Simon W. Bright
Associate
(405) 270-6082
Matthew K. Brown
Associate
(405) 552-2304
J. Craig Buchan
Shareholder
(918) 574-3049
Brandon L. Buchanan
Shareholder
(405) 552-2307
Vickie J. Buchanan
Shareholder, Industry Group Leader
(405) 552-2331
Jeremiah L. Buettner
Shareholder
(405) 552-2241
Steven W. Bugg
Of Counsel
(405) 552-2216
Colby J. Byrd
Associate
(405) 270-6059
Jennifer H. Callahan
Shareholder, Director, Industry Group Leader
(405) 552-2225
Jodi C. Cole
Shareholder
(405) 552-2224
Steven P. Cole
Shareholder
(405) 552-2230
W. Chris Coleman
Shareholder, Industry Group Leader
(405) 552-2234
Ryan N. Cross
Of Counsel
(405) 270-6026
Robert W. Dace
Shareholder
(405) 552-2268
Cheryl Vinall Denney
Shareholder, Practice Group Leader
(405) 552-2295
Wagner R. Dias da Silva
Shareholder
(405) 552-2374
Clifford C. Dougherty, III
Shareholder
(405) 552-2302
Robert L. Garbrecht
Shareholder, Practice Group Leader
(405) 552-2254
Paige Hoster Good
Associate
(405) 552-2340
William D. Hall
Of Counsel
(405) 552-2218
J. Derek Hardberger
Shareholder
(405) 552-2327
John N. Hermes
Of Counsel, Assistant General Counsel
(405) 552-2258
Gerald L. Hilsher
Of Counsel
(918) 574-3036
Christian S. Huckaby
Of Counsel
(405) 270-6088
Laurence M. Huffman
Of Counsel
(405) 552-2210
Sean S. Hunt
Shareholder
(405) 552-2345
Justin Jackson
Shareholder
(405) 552-2240
Richard D. Johnson
Shareholder
(405) 552-2204
Robert J. Joyce
Shareholder
(918) 574-3040
Garry L. Keele, II
Shareholder
(918) 574-3037
John A. Kenney
Of Counsel
(405) 552-2244
Michael J. LaBrie
Shareholder, Director, Industry Group Leader
(405) 552-2305
Michael F. Lauderdale
Shareholder, Managing Director
(405) 552-2257
Joe C. Lewallen, Jr.
Shareholder, Director
(405) 552-2370
Brandon P. Long
Shareholder, Practice Group Leader
(405) 552-2328
Laura J. Long
Shareholder
(405) 552-2372
H. Cole Marshall
Shareholder
(405) 552-2379
Michael D. McClintock
Shareholder, Practice Group Leader
(405) 552-2213
T. Lake Moore V
Associate
(405) 270-6068
Emma J. Payne
Associate
(405) 270-6089
Ross Plourde
Shareholder
(405) 552-2277
Tracy A. Poole
Of Counsel, Industry Group Leader
(918) 574-3026
Louis J. Price
Of Counsel
(405) 552-2253
Anthony L. Rahhal
Shareholder, Practice Group Leader
(405) 552-2306
Richard A. Riggs
Of Counsel
(405) 552-2265
Paul A. Ross
Shareholder, Practice Group Leader
(405) 552-2383
Philip B. Sears
Of Counsel
(405) 552-2288
William T. Silvia
Associate
(918) 574-3043
Joshua D. Smith
Shareholder, Practice Group Leader, Industry Group Leader
(405) 552-2301
Mackenzie L. Smith
Associate
(405) 270-6085
Patrick L. Stein
Shareholder
(405) 552-2238
N. Martin Stringer
Of Counsel
(405) 552-2284
Jeff L. Todd
Shareholder, Industry Group Leader
(405) 552-2269
Alison A. Verret
Associate
(918) 574-3089
Elizabeth Scott Wood
Of Counsel
(405) 552-2270
J. Todd Woolery
Shareholder, Practice Group Leader, Industry Group Leader
(405) 552-2333

Paralegals

Angie Cox
Paralegal — Litigation Support Specialist
(405) 270-6029
mt_ig_articles
mt_ig_atps

At The Podium

Navigating Master Service Agreements

Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association Lunch & Learn
Oklahoma City, OK | June 5, 2018

Energy Litigation Update 2017

16TH Annual Energy Litigation Conference, sponsored by the Institute for Energy Law of CAIL and ABA
Houston, Texas | November 1, 2017

Update on Energy Litigation for States Other Than Texas

30th Annual Energy Law Institute for Attorneys and Landmen
Houston, Texas | August 30-31, 2017

Energy Litigation Update 2016

15th Annual Energy Litigation Conference, sponsored by Institute for Energy Law of CAIL and ABA
Houston, TX | November 1, 2016

Insolvency in the Oil Patch: An Energy Company Chapter 11 Primer

OSCPA Oil & Gas Conference
Midwest City, Oklahoma | October 18, 2016

Update on Oil & Gas Royalty Litigation and the Latest Royalty Issues

National Meeting on Oil & Gas Revenue Issues of the Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies (COPAS)
San Diego, CA | October 1, 2016

Navigating Distressed Waters in Uncertain Times

May 4, 2016

Surviving the Low-Price Oil & Gas Environment With Marginal Oil & Gas Leases

Oklahoma Geological Society
Oklahoma City, OK | March 1, 2016

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration – 2014 Regulatory Update

Marsh and McAfee & Taft Midstream Energy Roundtable
Tulsa, Oklahoma | October 23, 2014

Served on Oil & Gas Litigation Panel

5th Law of Shale Plays Conference
Pittsburgh, PA | September 1, 2014

Oil & Gas Litigation Update for Texas, Oklahoma and Other States

Dallas Bar Association’s Annual Oil & Gas Law Seminar
Dallas, TX | August 1, 2014

Litigation Update on Recent Energy Industry Contract Litigation

American Conference Institute’s 2nd National Forum on Oil & Gas Litigation
Houston, TX | September 1, 2013

Case Law Update and Litigation Trends Involving Shale Plays

2nd Conference on the Law of Shale Plays, sponsored by Institute for Energy Law of CAIL
Fort Worth, TX | September 1, 2012

Texas and Oklahoma Litigation Update and Select Cases from Other Jurisdictions

Dallas Bar Association's Annual Oil and Gas Law Seminar
Dallas, TX | August 1, 2012

Litigation Update on Oil and Gas Royalty Lawsuits and Other Contract Disputes of Interest to Landmen in the U.S.

58th Meeting of the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL)
San Francisco, CA | June 1, 2012

Current Oil and Gas Litigation Trends and Developments for Shale Plays

3rd Conference on the Law of Oil and Gas Shale Plays
Fort Worth, TX | June 1, 2012

Recent Developments in Oil and Gas Litigation in 2011

63rd Annual Oil and Gas Law Conference
Houston, TX | February 1, 2012

Texas and Oklahoma Litigation Update and Select Cases from Other Jurisdictions

Annual Dallas Bar Association Oil & Gas Law Seminar
Dallas, TX | August 1, 2011

Litigation Update for the Oil and Gas Industry

37th Annual National Association of Division Order Analysts (NADOA) Institute
San Antonio, TX | 2010

Texas and Oklahoma Case Law Update and Select Cases from Other Jurisdictions

Annual Dallas Bar Association Oil & Gas Law Seminar
Dallas, TX | 2010

Litigating Oil & Gas Royalty Disputes: Crafting Defense Strategies for Cases with Unsettled and Conflicting Laws

Oil & Gas Litigation and Arbitration Forum, American Conference Institute
Houston, TX | 2010

Anywhere the Wind Blows – Real Estate Related Legal Issues Related to Wind Energy Development

2009 ABA Annual Meeting, ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law
Chicago, Illinois | August 2, 2009

Texas and Oklahoma Case Law Update and Select Cases from Other Jurisdictions

Annual Dallas Bar Association Oil & Gas Law Seminar
Dallas, TX | 2009

Recent Developments in Oil and Gas Royalty Litigation

Organization for Oil and Gas Industry Accountants (COPAS) National Meeting
Branson, MO | 2009

Update on Private Oil and Gas Royalty Litigation in the Oil & Gas Industry

National Meeting of the Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies (COPAS)
Oklahoma City, OK | 2008

Oil & Gas Royalty Litigation Update

10th National Oil and Gas Royalty Conference
Dallas, TX | 2008

Texas and Oklahoma Case Law Update and Select Cases from Other Jurisdictions

Annual Dallas Bar Association Oil & Gas Law Seminar
Dallas, TX | 2008

Recent Developments in Royalty Owner Lawsuits Over Cost Deductions and Related Issues

35th Annual NADOA Institute
San Diego, CA | 2008

The Top 10 Legal Developments that Present the Greatest Challenges for the Domestic Oil and Gas Industry

Annual Dallas Bar Association Oil & Gas Law Seminar
Dallas, TX | 2007

The Top Ten Recent Court Decision Challenging the Oil and Gas Industry

58th Annual Institute on Oil and Gas Law and Taxation, sponsored by the Institute for Energy Law of CAIL
Houston, TX | 2007

Texas and Oklahoma Case Law Update and Select Cases from Other Jurisdictions

Annual Dallas Bar Association Oil & Gas Law Seminar
Dallas, TX | 2006

Oil and Gas Royalty Litigation Update

9th Annual National Oil and Gas Royalty Conference
Houston, TX | 2006

Recent Royalty Litigation Concerning Processed Gas

8th National Oil and Gas Royalty Conference
Houston, TX | 2005

Texas and Oklahoma Case Law Update and Select Cases from Other Jurisdictions

Annual Dallas Bar Association Oil & Gas Law Seminar
Dallas, TX | 2005

Oil and Gas Royalty Litigation from the Outside Counsel’s Perspective

Ernst & Young General Counsel Roundtable
Houston, TX | 2004

Recent Disputes and Court Decisions in the Oil Patch

Annual Meeting of the National Association of Lease and Title Analysts
Austin, TX | 2004

Texas and Oklahoma Case Law Update and Select Cases from Other Jurisdictions

Annual Dallas Bar Association Oil & Gas Law Seminar
Dallas, TX | 2004

An Oklahoma Overview: Case Law Update for the Oil, Gas, and Energy Law Practitioner

Annual Dallas Bar Association Oil & Gas Law Seminar
Dallas, TX | 2003

The Aftermath of Energy Deregulation: What Went Wrong? What Went Right? Who Goes to Jail? Was the Environment Really Affected After All?

ABA Annual Meeting
San Francisco, CA | 2003

The New Wave of Royalty Check Stub Litigation

First Annual Energy Litigation Conference, sponsored by the Institute for Energy Law of CAIL and ABA
Houston, TX | 2002

What to Pay and How to Describe It – Recent Developments in Litigation Over Royalties and Royalty Check Stubs

Annual Meeting of the National Association of Division Order Analysts (NADOA)
Oklahoma City, OK | 2002

Class Action Litigation Trends in Energy, Environmental and Enron Litigation

10th Fall Meeting of the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources
Portland, OR | 2002

Oil and Gas Lease Drafting Considerations Regarding the Allocation of Gas Marketing-Related Costs

4th National Oil and Gas Royalty Conference
Houston, TX | 2000

The New Wave of Royalty Owner Lawsuits

4th Fall Meeting of the ABA Section of Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law
Boston, MA | 1999

Gas Balancing Agreements and Litigation

Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies Annual Meeting
Fort Worth, TX | 1999

Current Trends in Class Action Royalty Litigation

40th Annual Institute for Professional Landmen
Dallas, TX | 1999

A Landman’s Guide to Drafting Provisions for the Allocation of Gas Marketing-Related Costs Under the Oil and Gas Lease

45th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute
Monterey, CA | 1999

Recent Royalty Litigation and Industry Responses

7th Fall Meeting of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources
San Diego, CA | 1999

A Comparison of the Model Form Gas Balancing Agreements – Catching Up with a Changing Market Environment

40th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute
San Diego, CA | 1994

Gas Prorationing Laws in the Major Oil & Gas States

First Fall Meeting of the ABA Section of Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law
Ashville, NC | 1993
mt_ig_group_leaders

Industry Group Leader

mt_ig_news_items

In The News

New law will affect state’s environmentally regulated facilities

The Oklahoman | August 9, 2019

Tenth Circuit unanimously rules for leading energy producers in Osage County

April 12, 2018

Attorney: Wind energy, oil should be united focus

Tulsa Business & Legal News | March 1, 2017

Business look ahead: Energy industry should stabilize in 2017

The Tulsa World | January 1, 2017

Business look ahead: Area business officials talk goals for 2017

The Tulsa World | January 1, 2017

Nuisance arguments heard in Oklahoma wind farm case

The Oklahoman | September 28, 2016

McAfee & Taft adds oil and & gas paralegal Kerry Blackburn

September 12, 2016

Mark Christiansen to present on frac litigation at 61st Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute

June 19, 2015

Christiansen quoted on status of Oklahoma royalty law

The Oklahoman | January 23, 2015

McAfee & Taft expands Energy and Oil & Gas Group, adds litigators Todd Woolery, Jodi Cole

December 18, 2013

Center for American and International Law elects McAfee & Taft’s Mark Christiansen secretary

October 23, 2013

Mark Christiansen joins McAfee & Taft, co-leads energy practice of state’s largest law firm

March 10, 2013

Attorney Sean Hunt joins McAfee & Taft’s Transactional Group

November 12, 2012

SemGroup LP case turns into bankruptcy behemoth

The Journal Record | November 21, 2008

Oklahoman reports on Steven Bugg’s presentation to oil and gas producers

The Oklahoman | November 7, 2008

McAfee & Taft attorneys win ‘extraordinary’ remedy for oil and gas producers

October 6, 2008
mt_ig_media_items