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Baker McKenzie’s North America Energy response team recently surveyed a number of key oil and gas producing jurisdictions across the United States – representing approximately 90% of domestic oil production – to assess how these jurisdictions are responding to the recent collapse in the oil price from a regulatory perspective.

No two jurisdictions are identical in their response, and our analysis reveals a range of approaches. Texas, Oklahoma, and North Dakota are responding pro-actively, pursuing top-down solutions to address the crisis (e.g., considering mandatory production cuts, allowing operators to shut-in production, etc.) while New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are offering more limited, selective relief and typically doing so on a case-by-case basis (e.g., offering environmental compliance derogations upon request, issuing guidance to address specific issues, etc.). In a third group, California, Colorado, West Virginia, Wyoming, Ohio, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) are taking a non-interventionist, “business as usual” approach, abstaining from any substantial action for now.

In the course of our review, we detailed the actions taken by each of the jurisdictions surveyed with respect to production cuts, relief for state-owned lands, environmental enforcement, and contractual relief. We then grouped the jurisdictions by their level of engagement and responsiveness in facing the crisis – seeking to identify common themes and takeaways – and will discuss each group in turn.



C. Thomas Kruse serves as the Firm’s Litigation Practice Group Chair for Texas. He has three decades’ worth of experience as lead counsel in the courtroom (jury and bench trials), and in appeals and arbitrations of complex commercial matters. He has represented clients before the ICC Court of Arbitration as well as in AAA arbitration. He clerked for the Hon. Ricardo H. Hinojosa in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas from 1989 to 1990. Tom is board-certified in Civil Trial Law by The Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has been recognized professionally numerous times by legal institutions and directories, including Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, The Best Lawyers in America and Texas Super Lawyers.


Doug Sanders leads Baker & McKenzie's US Environmental Litigation practice. He represents a broad range of domestic and non-US corporations before federal, state and administrative courts in environmental, class action, mass tort and product liability litigation, government enforcement, permitting and criminal proceedings.


Denmon chairs the Firm’s North American Oil & Gas Practice. She is a top-rated energy attorney whose practice concentrates on complex, frequently cross-border, transactions involving the oil and gas, midstream, refining, chemical, petrochemical and energy industry more broadly, including public and private company mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and joint ventures. She also advises clients on corporate governance matters. Denmon is a member of the Firm’s Texas Offices Management Team and chairs the Houston office chapter of BakerWomen.