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On Demand

Introducing the "Fair Opportunity Doctrine": How to Harmonize the Rule of Capture, Correlative Rights, and Subsurface Trespass for a More Effective System of Property Rights in Oil and Gas and Pore Space

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Academic Webinar Series |  Institute for Energy Law
Joseph A. Schremmer
60 Minutes
Audio and Video
Original Program Date:
Feb 10, 2022
Access for 6 month(s) after purchase.


Over the past twenty years, horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and, most recently, carbon dioxide sequestration have raised novel and difficult legal issues involving the development and use of oil and gas reservoirs. Much of the difficulty has come in reconciling three key oil and gas doctrines: the rule of capture, correlative rights, and subsurface trespass. This presentation introduces the "fair opportunity doctrine," which synthesizes these rules into a single workable legal test that defines the limits of reservoir property rights. The fair opportunity doctrine addresses cases involving cross-boundary hydraulic fracturing (like Coastal Oil & Gas Corp. v. Garza Energy Trust), horizontal drilling (like Lightning Oil & Gas v. Anadarko Onshore E&P), and underground fluid migration from saltwater disposal, secondary and enhanced recovery, and carbon dioxide sequestration or storage, among others. The presentation is based on Prof. Joe Schremmer's forthcoming article in Volume 46 of the Harvard Environmental Law Review, entitled A Unifying Doctrine of Subsurface Property Rights.


Credit in Other States

Although MCLE credit has only been requested in these jurisdictions, you may be able to personally request and obtain credit in other jurisdictions—either participatory or self-study credit—but the rules vary greatly by jurisdiction. Please review your jurisdiction’s MCLE rules and regulations before purchasing or viewing this program if the purpose of your purchase is to obtain MCLE credit.



Joseph A. Schremmer's Profile

Joseph A. Schremmer Related Seminars and Products

Assistant Professor of Law, Judge Leon Karelitz Oil & Gas Law Professor

The University of New Mexico

Joseph A. Schremmer is an assistant professor of law and the Judge Leon Karelitz Oil and Gas Law Professor at the University of New Mexico School of Law. He teaches courses on oil and gas law, environmental regulation of the oil and gas industry, property law, contracts, business associations, and secured transactions. Joe has written extensively on subsurface property rights, including articles published or forthcoming in the Washington Law Review, University of Colorado Law Review, Utah Law Review, University of Kansas Law Review, Journal of Legal Education, and Harvard Environmental Law Review. He is also a co-author with Patrick H. Martin, Bruce M. Kramer, Keith B. Hall, and Tara K. Righetti of The Law of Oil and Gas: Cases and Materials (11th ed. 2021). Before entering teaching, Joe practiced law with a small general civil practice firm in Wichita, Kansas, where he represented oil and gas producers in all phases of oil and gas development, specializing in issues involving mineral title.