Alston & Bird served as counsel for Point Energy Partners in a force majeure dispute before the Supreme Court of Texas. The case marks the Supreme Court of Texas’ first thorough discussion and explanation of the concept of “force majeure” under Texas law.
As one of the largest oil and gas disputes litigated in Texas, the case concerns the rightful ownership of 4,000 gross acres in the Delaware Basin region of the Permian Basin.
The crux of the dispute was whether MRC Permian Company’s failure to meet a drilling deadline in 2017, and the resulting loss of its lease, was excused by an event of force majeure. In a 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court of Texas found that it was MRC’s own calendaring error, not an event of “wellbore instability” that MRC claimed constituted an event of force majeure, that caused MRC to miss its deadline. The court concluded that by failing to meet this deadline without a valid excuse, MRC lost the undrilled portions of its lease.
The Alston & Bird team representing Point Energy in the case is led by partners Robert Vartabedian and Conrad Hester and senior associates Alix Dean Allison, Connor R. Bourland, and Emily A. Fitzgerald (Oil & Gas Litigation).