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Key Operating & Equipment, Inc. v. Hegar

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20134
Nos. 13-0156, (Tex., 06/20/2014)

The Supreme Court of Texas held that an oil and gas company may use a road on landowner's property to access its underground mineral rights. The company held an interest oil and gas rights under the landowners' property in addition to several adjoining tracts. In 2000, it pooled the tracts, thereby combining the acreage into a single unit as authorized by the leases. The landowners purchased their property in 2002 and for several years took no action to restrict the company's use of the road. But when traffic increased following the company's drilling of a neighboring tract, the landowners filed suit, claiming that the company was trespassing. A trial court agreed and enjoined the company from using the part of the road that was on the landowners' property, and an appellate court affirmed. But Texas' highest court reversed. When, as here, parts of two mineral leases have been pooled but production is from only one lease, the mineral lessee has the right to use a road across the surface of the lease without production in order to access the producing lease.