Mineral & Energy

The attorneys of the Mineral & Energy Team lead an even broader group of Wyatt attorneys who collectively possess experience in virtually every area of the law.  We devote that extensive knowledge to the service of our clients engaged in the mineral and energy industries.  The success of the mineral and energy industries is critical to the nation’s economy and important to us.  We represent clients who are involved in all aspects of those industries.  Our clients include owners, producers, processors, providers, and users of minerals (primarily coal, oil and natural gas).  They also include providers of financing, bonding, technical assistance, equipment and insurance to businesses engaged in the mineral and energy industries.

Our team practices across the spectrum of the mineral and energy industries.  We provide legal services relating to the resolution of all types of disputes before state and federal courts; regulatory agencies, including the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission; and arbitration tribunals.  Our lawyers also work extensively with clients on transactional matters relating to mineral or energy businesses or properties, such as stock and asset mergers and sales, and the financing of such transactions.

Transactions. A regular part of our practice involves representing clients in both the Central Appalachian and Illinois Basins.  Our attorneys advise our clients in the structuring, drafting, negotiation of acquisition and merger agreements, supply contracts, coal, oil and gas deeds and leases, contract mining agreements, and financing arrangements.  Transactional attorneys on the Mineral Energy Team are well versed in every aspect of transactions – from letters of intent to closings.  We are pleased to serve as counsel for many of the most productive coal mining companies and several of the largest mineral holding companies in the United States.

The Mineral & Energy Team is proud of its reputation as lawyers who “get the deal done.”  We combine sound legal and business advice with common sense to guide our clients throughout all phases of  transactions.  Some of our recent transactional representations include:

  • Counsel to the seller, a land holding company, in a reverse merger involving a publicly traded coal producer.
  • Counsel to an independent oil and gas exploration and production company in the acquisition of oil and gas wells, leases, pipelines and other assets from a publicly traded company totaling more than $50mm in value.  Our lawyers also represented the purchaser in the negotiation of a credit facility with a national banking institution in connection with this acquisition.
  • Counsel to a large publicly traded coal company in an acquisition of equity interests in a coal producer with assets located in Kentucky and West Virginia that totaled in excess of $400mm.
  • Counsel to a nationwide commercial lender in connection with a credit facility involving one of the largest independent coal producing companies in Central Appalachia.
  • Counsel to a private equity fund in the $126mm acquisition of coal production company with assets located in Central Appalachia.  Our team also assisted the our client in the negotiation of its credit facility in connection with this acquisition.
  • Counsel to a large privately held mineral holding company in the acquisition of over 90,000 acres of mineral-bearing properties located in the Illinois Basin.
  • Counsel to a now-publicly traded coal producer in the Illinois Basin in the acquisition of assets from the largest coal company in the United States.

Litigation. Members of the Mineral & Energy Team have experience in all types of litigation relating to the Mineral & Energy industries.  Our litigators are second to none when it comes to high-stakes litigation.  We represent our clients in disputes involving supply and brokerage agreements, transportation contracts, leases, surface agreements, contract mining agreements and professional service contracts.  We have also litigated cases involving all manner of commercial torts, including claims of fraudulent inducement and misrepresentation, conversion, tortious interference and breach of fiduciary duty.

The Mineral & Energy Team boasts an impressive resume of successful representations in large-scale litigation matters.  A few recent examples include:

  • Counsel to a publicly traded coal producer in a “bet-the-company” coal sales and supply dispute regarding force majeure issues with a utility based in Pennsylvania.
  • Counsel to a large Florida utility in a coal sales and supply dispute with a publicly traded coal producer involving issues of force majeure and commercial impracticability.
  • Counsel to a large independent oil and gas exploration and production company in a contractual dispute concerning a farm-out agreement.
  • Counsel to an investor group in a fraud action in Federal District Court and Federal Bankruptcy Court against a Magoffin County oil and gas exploration and production company.
  • Counsel to the seller of an independent coal company to a publicly traded coal company in western Kentucky where the issues involved failure of the publicly traded company to pay full consideration to the seller.
  • Counsel to a large privately held coal producer in a case determining coal bed methane development rights in Kentucky.
  • Counsel to a publicly traded coal producer in an immense environmental spill and contamination matter, dealing with actions by numerous governmental agencies as well as hundreds of private damage claims.
  • Counsel to multiple coal companies, both publicly traded and private companies, defending civil claims against parent corporation for wrongful death of subsidiary companies’ employees.
  • Counsel to a publicly traded coal company defending claims that mining activity caused flooding.
  • Counsel to an eastern Kentucky company seeking modification of federal regulatory standards related to underground Mine Refuge/Safe Haven system.

Regulatory. We provide our mineral & energy clients with assistance on coal, oil and gas permitting and enforcement matters, as well as representation before other agencies regulating air, water and waste.  In regulatory matters we also draw upon and coordinate with our attorneys in the Firm’s Environmental Team.  Our attorneys also represent our clients in mine safety issues before the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

  • Counsel to a privately held group of coal producing companies in connection with regular MSHA citation defense.
  • Counsel to a privately held coal producer in connection with a MSHA investigation concerning a mining fatality.

Arbitration. Our attorneys have extensive experience in the mediation and arbitration of disputes arising under mineral-related contracts such as leases and coal supply contracts, oil and gas purchase and sale agreements as well as labor agreements.

  • Counsel to a top-five publicly traded coal production company in connection with price re-opener disputes with a large Ohio utility.
  • Counsel to the purchaser in an oil and gas acquisition in a dispute arising out of the purchase agreement concerning a publicly traded oil and gas exploration and production company.
  • Counsel to a publicly traded coal producer in various coal supply agreement disputes with a national power producer, arbitrated in Oklahoma.