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About Austin

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. Austin also focuses on the representation of 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

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

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

Private oil and gas operator — oil and gas lease covering approximately 25,000 net mineral acres in the Eagle Ford Shale, including the negotiation of acreage earning provisions to accommodate

Private equity-backed, upstream-focused operator — development of standard form purchase and sale agreements and accompanying conveyance documents targeting both lower value ($1 million or less) and medium value ($1 million to $5 million) transactions in the execution of its acquisition program

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.



The University of Texas School of Law,
with honors
The University of Texas at Austin,
Masters in Professional Accounting
The University of Texas at Austin,
Bachelor of Arts

Bar Admissions



State Bar of Texas



News Story - Argus Media

June 12, 2017
Argus Air Daily

Pooling and Unitization

April 26, 2017
Lexis Practice Advisor



The Mineral Revolution: How The Recent Influx of Capital is Changing Deal Structures and Opportunities for Investment

Over the past twelve months, we have witnessed a rapid evolution in the way that E&P industry participants acquire and own minerals. While the perpetual nature and non-cost bearing aspects of mineral ownership have long aided in maintaining a floor value in the...

Offsite Drilling: Lightning Oil v. Anadarko and Its Potential Impact on Offsite Surface Use in Horizontal Drilling

As the global commodity price rout continues, operators have become hypersensitive to increasing efficiencies in order to lower break-even prices. Following a recovery in early 2016, oil prices have remained somewhat range-bound between roughly $45 and $55 per barrel for the past twelve months. [1] A corresponding decrease in service prices has offered some relief, but this alone has proven unsustainable for many producers to continue their current drilling plans. While the geological attributes of formations found in the Permian Basin offer unique opportunities to attain break-even prices in...

Pooling and Unitization

April 26, 2017
Lexis Practice Advisor

Adverse Possession in the Oil Patch

December 2, 2016

The most basic example of adverse possession is when a landowner fences in land that belongs to a neighbor. This is trespassing, but if a long enough period of time passes without the neighbor bringing a trespass claim, the trespasser can acquire title by adverse possession. Texas law complicates things a bit by having four separate adverse possession statutes – depending on various factors, the time period is 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, or 25 years. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 16.024-16.028. In the oil and gas industry, adverse possession can be even trickier. A property owner can have...

PSA and Allocation Wells – The Current State of Play

The Railroad Commission of Texas (the “RRC”) routinely grants drilling permits to operators seeking to drill horizontal wells across multiple leased tracts (or existing pooled units) that are not formally “pooled” together under the pooling clauses in the applicable underlying oil and gas leases. Some of the more frequent situations in which these wells are drilled include instances where the pooling provisions of the underlying leases do not allow for pooled units of a sufficient size to support the full lateral length of the horizontal well in question or instances where the leases on which...

Binding Contracts Created Via Email

January 31, 2016

A presentation regarding the use of email to create binding contracts, focusing on Texas and Federal law. The presentation addresses issues regarding when an exchange of emails can be considered to contain all of the material terms needed for contract formation, and whether an email can be considered a “signature” for agreements that must be in writing and signed to be effective.

Recent Legal Developments in the Roaring Utica Shale

March 28, 2014

Ohio's Utica Shale has been one of the hottest shale plays in the nation over the past six to nine months and in the midst of the impressive amount of activity (both from a transactional and operational standpoint) practitioners (and their clients) are dealing with several recent court decisions that have had and will continue to have impacts on the development of this play. American Energy Partners LP, (" AEP ") the company led by Aubrey McClendon, the former Chesapeake Energy Corp. Chief Executive Officer, has led the way in acquiring acreage in the Utica over this period. With purchases...

Pooled Units and the Implied Surface Easement

September 30, 2013

On January 7, 2013, the Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas (Houston) (the " Court ") held that under Texas law the implied surface easement inherent in the mineral estate limited the mineral estate owner's right to use a surface road on a pooled tract to benefit the production from the pooled unit, subject to the accommodation doctrine, to only instances in which such use benefited wells that produced from beneath the surface tract that such road crossed . In Key Operating & Equipment, Inc. v. Will Hegar and Loree Hegar , (2013 WL 103633 (Tex.App.-Hous. (1 Dist.))) (...



Hart Energy
Oil and Gas Investor
Forty Under 40, 2018
Portfolio Media, Inc.
Energy Rising Star, 2018
The University of Texas School of Law
Texas Journal of Oil, Gas and Energy Law
Chief Financial Officer, 2007 - 2009