Celebrating 10 years covering energy and politics in The Lone Star State. 

“We lost the growth investors, now we’ve got to attract a whole other set of investors.”

— Pioneer Natural Resources CEO Scott Sheffield on one of the effects of his company’s “pumping a lot but making little” so far in the fracking boom, according to the Wall Street Journal

The TER Buzz:

Texas expands protections for state’s royalty owners: TIPRO News Release

By Ed Longanecker, president of the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO)


June 25, 2019


In a win for Texas royalty owners, earlier this month Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law new protections designed to safeguard mineral owners from fraudulent activity and strengthen private property rights.

Royalty owners, who lease the mineral rights beneath their land, represent an important segment of the oil and gas industry, directly supporting growing production of oil and gas across the nation. There are millions of royalty owners throughout the United States, with a large percentage living in the Lone Star State. Over 600,000 Texas households receive billions of dollars in oil and gas royalties each year.

Unfortunately, in recent years, royalty owners in Texas have become increasingly vulnerable to falsified lease offers that cause minerals owners to unknowingly sell a majority of their royalty interests through intentionally deceptive agreements emulating authentic leasing documentation. Under the guise of an offer to “top lease” minerals in exchange for a cash payment, bad actors have been trying to con mineral and royalty owners, a high percentage of which being the elderly and senior citizens, into selling mineral interests rather than properly leasing them. In these situations, the supposed buyer claims that in exchange for the “top lease,” the mineral or royalty owner will receive a cash payment and a 25 percent “royalty.” The owner is then presented with a document intended to mimic an oil and gas lease. However, the document is not a legitimate top lease. Instead, the owner is selling 75 percent of their royalties for as long as the “royalty lease” is in effect. Oftentimes, the goal of such schemes is to try to time the purchases with redevelopment of new horizontal wells and take 75 percent of the owners’ royalty stream for a minimal payment.

House Bill 3838, approved by Governor Abbott on June 10, 2019, amends the Texas Property Code to require mandatory disclosures in offers to purchase mineral and royalty interests in the state of Texas. Under the legislation authored by Texas Representative Ernest Bailes, a document which does not contain the appropriate disclaimers is void. This will allow operators to have title certainty, because if the document does contain the required disclaimer, it would be presumed valid. By requiring the disclaimer, this practice should be greatly curtailed, if not eliminated, because the vast majority of the sales would not occur if the owners knew that it was not a valid lease….

Produced Water May Provide Relief for Declining Water Supplies in Areas of the US: Ground Water Protection Council Press Release

June 24, 2019
The Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) released today a report that examines current regulations, practices, and research needed to expand the use of produced water, a byproduct of oil and gas production, as a resource….

U.S. becomes a net exporter of crude oil

By Alex Mills


June 24, 2019


Not very long ago, the U.S. imported vast amounts of oil from all over the world. Most of it came from countries that were member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and some were not very friendly to the U.S.

Just 10 years ago, the U.S. imported 14 million barrels of oil per day, and produced only 5 million b/d, according to the Energy Information Administration at the Department of Energy.

In March 2019, the U.S. oil imports dropped to 9 million b/d and production rose to 12 million b/d.

This remarkable turnaround has strengthened the nation’s economic position around the world and reduced significantly our vulnerability to countries that might threaten to use the “oil weapon” against the U.S. as used previously.

How did this happen?

Some believe good old American ingenuity was a key factor. Some also attribute it to private enterprise driven by a capitalist system, which often rewards the successes of risk takers….

Tillerson’s Russia Ties, Rick Perry’s Disparaging Remarks Featured In Website’s Reveal of Trump Documents

June 23, 2019


Axios says a leaker has provided the website with a series of documents used in vetting candidates for important Trump administration jobs, including Rick Perry, claiming the former Texas governor described “Trumpism” in a most negative way….

The Art of the Push Poll: American Energy Allliance News Release Responds to Article in The Hill

June 21, 2019
As you may have seen, there’s a new poll out from Frank Luntz and the Climate Leadership Council that purports to show widespread GOP support for a carbon tax. Here’s what The Hill reported:

“Prominent GOP pollster Frank Luntz is warning Republican lawmakers that the public’s views on climate change are shifting and that ignoring the issue could cost them important votes at the ballot box.

In a memo circulated to Republican congressional offices on Wednesday, Luntz Global Partners warned that 58 percent of Americans, as well as 58 percent of GOP voters under the age of 40, are more concerned about climate change than they were just one year ago…Luntz Global conducted the online poll of 1,000 voters on behalf of the Climate Leadership Council, which is promoting its own carbon tax and dividend plan. The survey found that GOP voters supported the plan by a 2-1 margin.”

We’ve got some serious doubts.

For starters, check out the wording here:

“Business and environmental leaders are proposing a bipartisan climate solution that charges fossil fuel companies for their carbon emissions and gives all the money directly to the American people through a quarterly check. This new climate solution is called ‘Carbon Dividends’, because all households would receive a quarterly cash payment as part of an effort to solve climate change. Would you support or oppose this plan?”

In layman’s terms, they’re asking: “Would you like fossil fuel companies to send you a big wad of cash?”

For more, read the full response here from AEA President Tom Pyle.