Austin Lee represents and counsels clients in the acquisition and divestiture of oil and gas properties, as well as a broad range of transactional and operational matters regarding upstream and midstream operations. In addition, Austin also counsels clients in the upstream and midstream space who are dealing with distressed situations, whether in the form of restructuring financial arrangements or acquiring or divesting properties. Additionally, Austin represents lenders and borrowers with respect to the financing of oil and gas properties; pipeline systems and other midstream assets; and other development facilities.
Additionally, Austin has experience working in-house as upstream legal counsel at an independent exploration and production company where he was the principal legal contact for a business unit covering the Bakken Shale, Eagle Ford Shale and other areas of South Texas. He also has experience working with a major oil and natural gas exploration and production company through a secondment in one of its onshore focused business units.
In 2018, Austin was one of only five lawyers named by Law360 as an Energy Rising Star, which recognizes lawyers nationwide that are under 40 years of age for accomplishments in the energy space. Prior to entering legal practice, Austin worked as an independent petroleum landman and as a certified public accountant.
Recent Notable Matters
Pioneer Natural Resources — DrillCo transaction with a private investor providing for drilling opportunities on acreage owned by Pioneer in South Texas
Eni Petroleum US LLC — acquisition of 30 percent interest and a follow-on deal for remaining 70 percent and operatorship of the Oooguruk oil field in Alaska from Caelus Natural Resources Alaska, LLC
Large publicly traded utility company — DrillCo transaction pursuant to which the utility provided DrillCo financing to an upstream operator in exchange for a large acreage dedication and exclusive right to provide midstream services to the operator
Halcón Resources Corporation — $325 million divestiture of water infrastructure assets across the Delaware Basin to a subsidiary of WaterBridge Resources LLC
Parsley Energy Inc. — $2.8 billion acquisition of certain entities holding undeveloped acreage and producing oil and gas properties in the core of the Midland Basin from Double Eagle Energy Permian LLC and certain of its affiliates consisting of approximately $1.4 billion in cash and approximately 39.8 million units of Parsley Energy
Group of commonly owned private equity-backed portfolio companies — sale of an undivided 25 percent non-operated position in their Delaware Basin assets for approximately $179 million along with the negotiation of a joint operating agreement with extensive joint development mechanics
American Resource Development (Ameredev) — sale of undeveloped acreage and producing oil and gas properties in the Delaware Basin (27,552 gross (16,098 net) surface acres), for a total consideration of $615 million in cash to Callon Petroleum Operating Company
Private equity-backed portfolio company — purchase of approximately 13,045 net acres in the Delaware Basin for approximately $350 million from four separate sellers
Castleton Commodities International LLC — acquisition of over 160,000 net acres of leasehold and midstream assets in East Texas for more than $1 billion from subsidiaries of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation for properties in the Cotton Valley, liquids-rich Middle Bossier and Haynesville shales and related midstream assets including a high-pressure gathering system and water and condensate infrastructure system that collectively consisted of over 750 miles of pipeline
Private equity-backed portfolio company — purchase of approximately 12,500 Net Acres in Howard County, Texas, including 22 producing wells and four Salt Water Disposal Wells, for approximately $102.6 million
Newfield Exploration Mid-Continent Inc. — acquisition of a package of producing and undeveloped properties in the liquids window of the Anadarko Basin covering approximately 13,675 acres and nine producing wells
Covey Park Energy LLC — $425 million acquisition of Encana Corporation’s East Texas oil and gas assets
Private oil and gas operator — drafting a development agreement to govern the relationship between the client and a significant area lessor/working interest participant for development of stacked geologic formations in the East Texas - Austin Chalk/Woodbine (Eaglebine) play
Privately owned salt water disposal and oil field trucking business — sale to a private equity fund and the reinvestment of certain proceeds from that sale as part of a “roll-up” transaction
SWEPI LP (a unit of Royal Dutch Shell plc) — $1.9 billion acquisition from Chesapeake Energy Corporation of approximately 618,000 net acres of oil and gas properties in the Southern Delaware region of the Permian Basin
Kinder Morgan, Inc. — $7.15 billion sale of El Paso’s exploration and production business unit which includes assets in the Eagle Ford Shale, Permian Basin, Haynesville Shale, Black Warrior Basin, Uintah Basin, Raton Basin, Powder River Basin, and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as in Egypt and Brazil
Apache Corporation — $7 billion acquisition of BP’s oil and gas operations, acreage and infrastructure in the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico and in Egypt's Western Desert, as well as BP’s upstream natural gas business in western Alberta and British Columbia
Venoco, Inc. and related subsidiaries — pre-packaged bankruptcy filing involving the assignment of certain sliding scale overriding royalty interests in certain offshore oil and gas leases
Empyrean Energy PLC — sale of its approximate 3 percent working interest in the Sugarloaf AMI Prospect in Karnes County, Texas (approximately 24,000 gross acres), to Carrier Energy Partners II, LLC for approximately $61.5 million plus certain contingency payments
Private equity-backed portfolio company — sale of partial interests in approximately $100 million of producing and non-producing oil and gas assets in the Central Texas and the negotiation of an operating agreement that contains various joint development features
Fortune 150 oilfield services company — several alternative investment transactions involving the exchange of services for Net Profits Interests in associated oil and gas properties, which, in each case, included an area of mutual interest, right of first refusal to provide services, as well as structuring of a cash waterfall within a special purpose vehicle to address applicable tax consequences
Fortune 500 company — negotiation of a seismic data sharing arrangement, as well as a seismic data license for an area of mutual interest covering producing properties in Wyoming
Kinder Morgan, Inc. — purchase of CO2 and Helium producing properties in New Mexico and Arizona for approximately $30 million
Private oil and gas operator — negotiation of multiple oil and gas leases with substantial landowners in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale areas of Texas
Private equity-backed portfolio company — sale of approximately 75,000 net mineral acres of producing and non-producing oil and gas assets in the Bakken Shale in North Dakota
Publications and Speeches
“Mineral Transactions Require Careful Attention,” Oil & Gas Investor, Who’s Who in Minerals, January 2018.
“Texas Affirms The Promise of Off-Site Drilling,” Law360, June 2017.
“Pooling and Unitization,” Lexis Practice Advisor, April 2017.
“Adverse Possession In The Oil Patch,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal, December 8, 2016.
“‘Production Sharing Agreement’ Wells: Pros and Cons,” Law360, October 21, 2016.
“A&D Buyside,” Oil & Gas Investor, May 2016.
“Recent Legal Developments in the Roaring Utica Shale,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal, May 8, 2014.
“Proceed With Caution: Sabre Oil & Gas Corporation v. Gibson and Anti-Dilution Provisions,” The Texas Journal of Oil, Gas and Energy Law, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2011-2012.