Oil and Gas Law

Christopher Lewis
Course Code: 
Energy Use

This seminar is an introduction to oil and gas law and oil and gas disputes, with an emphasis on controversies emanating from hydraulic fracturing.

In this class, we will survey the evolution of oil and gas law, from common law doctrines defining and promoting the rights of mineral owners, to recent efforts to ban hydraulic fracturing through legislation, zoning, and tort litigation. We will also examine pipeline regulation and recent controversies affecting pipeline infrastructure development, including battles over eminent domain and conflicts between state and federal review of pipeline projects.

Our goal is to accomplish three learning objectives: (1) to provide students with a deeper and more refined understanding of the oil and gas industry and the legal theories underpinning its growth and development; (2) to explore the intense opposition to hydraulic fracturing and how various legal doctrines have been deployed to wage that opposition; and (3) to examine the interplay of law, economics, and politics in the shaping of the regulatory frameworks that govern oil and gas development.

Class attendance is mandatory and class participation will count for 15% of the grade. The remainder of the grade (85%) will be based on a paper due following the end of the class.

Participants in the seminar will be expected to have taken basic courses in torts, property, and contract law.