Jonathan Hunter represents oil and gas companies, providing counseling and representation in a wide variety of matters arising primarily from upstream oil and gas operations. His practice includes litigation before federal and state courts and agencies, statutory and regulatory counseling, and contract preparation and review.
As leader of the firm’s federal oil and gas practice area, he provides advice and representation pertaining to the major federal statutes and regulations governing upstream oil and gas activities on federal lands. These include the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the Mineral Leasing Acts, the Deep Water Royalty Relief Act of 1995, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act, the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Simplification and Fairness Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the False Claims Act, and related royalty, operational and appeal regulations. In more than 100 administrative appeals, he has represented federal lessees in defending and resolving orders to pay royalties, orders to pay civil penalties, and orders to comply with operational requirements. He has represented federal lessees in numerous judicial proceedings, including actions for judicial review of final Interior Department decisions, challenges to federal regulations, actions for immediate injunctive relief from new regulatory requirements, and actions brought pursuant to the False Claims Act.
His experience also extends to oil and gas issues arising under state law, including the interpretation of joint operating agreements, payment of royalties, lease maintenance, lease development, assignment of lease interests, and intrastate pipeline regulatory matters. He has tried royalty, contract, and expropriation disputes in federal and state courts and in arbitration.
He is a frequent lecturer and organizer for energy law programs, including those presented by the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, of which he has served as a Trustee and member of the Executive Committee. Mr. Hunter has also served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law, teaching basic Oil and Gas Law and a seminar on Federal Offshore Oil and Gas Law at Tulane University Law School.
Exxon Mobil Corp., 178 IBLA 244 (2009) — Upheld challenge to MMS denial of request for Suspension of Production for deep water unit and reversed MMS decision terminating leases within unit.
Santa Fe Snyder Corp. v. Norton, 385 F.3d 884 (5th Cir. 2004) — Held regulations imposing volumetric conditions on royalty relief to be unlawful; multi-billion dollar impact on offshore oil and gas industry
Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Corp. v. U.S. Dep’t of Interior, 554 F.3d 1082 (5th Cir. 2009) — Holding price threshold clauses in leases governed by the Deep Water Royalty Relief Act to be unenforceable; multi-billion impact on offshore oil and gas industry