Operator Liability Under Federal Oil and Gas Leases

Drilling and Production Challenges, Environmental Issues, Drainage Protection, Well Abandonment, Reporting Obligations

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Course Materials

This CLE course will discuss critical terms and conditions of federal oil and gas leases, considerations for record title and operating rights owners, drilling and production obligations, overcoming environmental issues, drainage protection, well abandonment, and operator production and activity reporting requirements.


Federal oil and gas leases have a different ownership structure than other oil and gas leases, imposing heavy responsibilities and obligations on operators. Regulations involving federal oil and gas leases, including the terms of such agreements, require strict adherence to rules and reporting requirements.

A lessee of a federal oil and gas lease, as opposed to a fee lease, holds interest in both record title and operating rights which are often severed. Holders of record title have lease assignment and relinquishment rights. These holders often assign or transfer the operating rights to a third-party who would then be authorized to drill and conduct operations that produce the leased substances.

Operators of federal oil and gas leases must comply with the lease terms and all applicable federal and state regulations. Noncompliance is subject to assessments and potential penalties. Oil and gas counsel need an in-depth understanding of the challenges faced by operators, including those involving drilling and producing obligations, drainage protection, well abandonment procedures, environmental issues, and reporting requirements.

Listen as our panel discusses critical aspects of federal oil and gas leases, record title and operating rights holder liability, and offer guidance on overcoming challenges in reporting and maintaining compliance with federal and state regulations.



  1. Federal oil and gas leasing requirements and key provisions
  2. Critical considerations for record title and operating rights owners
  3. Drilling and production obligations and challenges
  4. Conduct of operations and environmental issues
  5. Operator reporting obligations


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What types of interests are transferrable under federal oil and gas leases?
  • What are the responsibilities and obligations of record title and operating rights owners under federal oil and gas leases?
  • What are the challenges in complying with applicable federal and state laws and regulations?
  • What are the operator's drilling and producing obligations and issues that may arise?
  • What are the obstacles and obligations involved in protecting leases from drainage?
  • What are the reporting obligations for operators of federal oil and gas leases?


Benoit, Bradley
Bradley J. (Brad) Benoit


For nearly 20 years, Mr. Benoit has maintained a practice that serves both plaintiffs and defendants, something that...  |  Read More

Crain, Stephen
Stephen B. Crain


Mr. Crain has spent his career advocating for clients in high-stake and complex commercial disputes in the United...  |  Read More

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