William R. Keffer
IPEC 2020 Plenary Session I Speaker | Monday, October 19
Texas Tech University | School of Law | Lubbock, Texas, USA
Professor of Practice; Janet Scivally & David Copeland Endowed Professor of Energy Law;
Director, Energy Law Programs; Asst. Director, Bar Preparation Resources
Horizontal Changes Everything
It is said that ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’” Innovation and technological advancements are always the first wave in a free-market, entrepreneurial society, with the law lagging far behind, trying desperately to catch up, but more often only getting tangled up in its judicial robes. Over 150 years of oil-and-gas jurisprudence has developed and been built on the premise of vertical wells. With the advent, and significant increase in number, of horizontal wells, longstanding rules, principles, and terminology relating to vertical wells are being reconsidered as to their applicability and proper understanding in the context of horizontal wells. On one hand, it is an exciting time, which presents a blank canvas on which new approaches can be explored and discovered. On the other hand, it also presents a time of uncertainty for the oil-and-gas industry and those finding themselves embroiled in litigation, fighting over a question answered long ago for vertical wells, but with no clear answer as to horizontal wells. This presentation will illustrate this current “brave, new world” in Texas oil-and-gas law by commenting on a few of the reported cases that have ventured from the known world of vertical wells and gone “sideways” into the uncharted world of horizontal wells.
William R. Keffer Bio:
Before joining the faculty in 2014, Bill Keffer was in practice for thirty years. After obtaining his BA in History from SMU in 1981 and his JD from the University of Texas in 1984, Mr. Keffer’s first position was with the Dallas law firm of Vial, Hamilton, Koch & Knox, where he had a general litigation practice. His next position was as in-house litigation-management counsel with ARCO Oil & Gas Company, where he presided over a national docket of over 120 cases. While at ARCO, he began specializing in oilfield-pollution cases and handled all kinds of environmental claims in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, California, Kansas, and offshore Gulf of Mexico. After leaving ARCO and joining the Dallas law firm now known as Foley Gardere, Mr. Keffer’s practice focused exclusively on oilfield-pollution litigation, and he represented various energy companies, such as ARCO, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, and Vastar. Mr. Keffer also, on occasion, successfully represented various landowners in prosecuting their oilfield-pollution claims, including ranch families in the Permian Basin and South Texas, as well as rural landowners in the Barnett shale in North Texas. After leaving Gardere, Mr. Keffer had his own practice in Dallas for thirteen years, where he continued to focus on environmental matters involving the oil-and-gas industry. During that time, he also served in the Texas legislature for two terms from 2003 to 2007, representing House District 107 in Northeast Dallas County.
Professional Activities and Memberships
Mr. Keffer is a charter member and former president of the Dallas Chapter of the Federalist Society. He is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Maguire Energy Institute, which is part of the Cox School of Business at SMU. He is an appointed member of the Texas delegation to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC). He is also a neutral for the American Arbitration Association. He writes a regular column for Shale magazine.
• B.A., Southern Methodist University
• J.D., University of Texas at Austin
• Oil & Gas Lease Negotiation
• Legislative Process
• Oil and Gas Law I
• Oil and Gas Law II