Logourl black
From our private database of 14,100+ case briefs...

Exxon Corp. v. Railroad Commission

Supreme Court of Texas
571 S.W.2d 497 (Tex. 1978)


Facts

A Texas Railroad Commission (Commission) (defendant) rule prohibited parties from drilling a well closer than 1200 feet to another well. The Commission could grant an exception to the rule if such exception would “prevent waste or . . . the confiscation of property.” BTA Oil Producers (BTA) was a lessee on a tract of land. BTA drilled a well (Wedge 2) in the Montoya Reservoir approximately 13,000 feet below the surface. The Montoya reserves, however, were nearing depletion and BTA thus wished to plug back and recomplete the well at a higher depth, approximately 12,000 feet below surface. However, BTA already had a well at this higher depth (Wedge 1), and BTA’s desired completion location for Wedge 2 would be less than 1200 feet away from Wedge 1. As a result, BTA filed an application with the Commission, seeking an exception to the spacing rule. BTA presented evidence that none of the wells in the vicinity of its Wedge 2 bore were sufficiently capturing oil at the 12,000 foot depth. BTA also presented evidence that although a totally new well could be drilled at a location that complied with the spacing rule, BTA could not economically justify doing so, particularly when Wedge 2 was already dug and only needed to be plugged back and recompleted at the desired level. The Commission granted BTA the exception over the objection of Exxon Corp. (Exxon) (plaintiff). The Commission, taking BTA’s pleaded economic factors into consideration, found that oil was being wasted by not being captured near Wedge 2. Exxon brought suit in the District Court of Travis County, challenging the order. The district court affirmed the Commission order. Exxon appealed.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (Greenhill, C.J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 218,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,100 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.