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San Antonio Court of Appeals Holds that Lessor Can Allow Third-Party to Drill through Lessee’s Mineral Estate to Reach Adjacent Lease 

by Donald D. Jackson, Elizabeth E. Klingensmith, Pierre Grosdidier, Ph.D., Christopher S. Kulander

Published: September, 2015

Submission: September, 2015


In a decision involving claims of underground trespass and tortious interference, the San Antonio Court of Appeals held that a surface owner could grant permission to a third-party to drill through the mineral estate underlying the surface and that the lessee “has no right to exclude others from the earth surrounding the oil and gas hydrocarbons” on the lease. Lightning Oil Co. v. Anadarko E&P Onshore LLC, No. 04-14-00903-CV, 2015 WL 4933439, --- S.W.3d --- (Tex. App.—San Antonio, Aug. 19, 2015, no pet. h.). The holding allowed a lessee to use the surface of an adjacent estate to build pads and drill wells that bottom on its adjoining leasehold—provided that the adjacent lease does not bar such use and the surface owner consents.

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