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Oil, Gas & Geothermal

Experience matching the industry's unique needs

Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP has represented the oil and gas and geothermal industries for decades. We are experienced in a broad range of transactional and regulatory work. On the transactional side, JMBM has handled a variety of business transactions and has served as counsel in many types of oil, gas and geothermal acquisition, disposition and secured lending transactions valued in excess of one billion dollars. On the regulatory side, JMBM has represented industry clients before the full spectrum of government and regulatory agencies, advocating their interests in land use, environmental and other litigation matters. 

Land Use

JMBM's expertise in the land use arena includes the following:

  • Zoning
  • Development incentives
  • Building codes, planning, purchase agreements
  • Permits and entitlements
  • Federal oil and gas lease sales
  • Securing environmental documentation under NEPA and CEQA 
  • Issues related to air, water, and soil quality
  • Takings, eminent domain/condemnation issues
  • Conservation
  • Reserve supply
  • Industry restructuring and deregulation
  • Leasing and selling of environmentally contaminated parcels
Environmental Law

JMBM's environmental lawyers routinely assist clients in the identification, analysis and resolution of problems related to environmental issues including the following:

  • Compliance, disclosure, clean up
  • Federal and State well stimulation (fracking) compliance
  • Hazardous materials
  • Issues related to air, water, and soil quality
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) actions
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actions
  • Department of Toxic Substances Control actions
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)
  • Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA)
  • Endangered Species Act (ESA)
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
  • Climate Change issues, including California AB32 and SB375
  • Endangered Species Act compliance
  • Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and California Proposition 65
  • Related insurance coverage matters
Regulatory Representation

Our attorneys frequently represent clients' interests before Federal and State agencies, including the BLM, DOGGR, the EPA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Army Corps of Engineers, state and local air quality boards, and other regulatory bodies. We have detailed knowledge of government structures and processes as well as numerous contacts in local government throughout California. Our network of contacts and the depth of our experience are especially helpful to our clients when obtaining necessary permitting or entitlements.

On behalf of pipelines, distributor or producer interests, our attorneys have made appearances before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Department of Energy (DOE), and numerous U.S. state and Canadian national and provincial utility commission proceedings.

Our experience often enables us to foresee problems that could lead to litigation with governmental agencies. If litigation becomes necessary our attorneys have effectively challenged arbitrary or unlawful agency decisions. Occasionally, we will suggest legislative approaches to simplify and clarify laws and regulations that affect our clients.

Acquisitions, Dispositions and Financing

We are well versed in the economic and technological issues involving independent oil, gas and geothermal producers. Our experience includes the following:

  • Acquisitions, mergers and dispositions of a variety of oil and gas properties and entities
  • Sales or syndications of assets and commodities
  • Financing energy companies through stock offerings, "roll ups" of partnerships and conventional bank loans
  • Structuring loans wholly or partially collateralized by oil field equipment, including drilling rigs
  • Negotiating and implementing workouts with vendors to convert debt into equity participations in oil fields
  • Assisting in workouts or foreclosures in the event of default
  • Structuring international oil and gas joint ventures
  • Geothermal acquisitions, dispositions, leasing and project development


With experience in the evaluation, negotiation and structuring of production field contracts of all kinds, our attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of various forms of title and direct experience including:

  • Real property and extraction rights
  • Mineral rights and operating rights
  • Production royalties
  • Severance taxes
  • Depletion allowances
  • Pipeline transmission tariffs
  • Siting, permitting and closing facilities
  • Local gas distribution rates and regulation
  • Service station agreements 
  • Fuel supply agreements
  • Negotiating and documenting complex joint ventures or operating agreements for domestic and foreign energy development
  • Assisting independent operators in negotiating and contracting for oil field services, such as drilling rigs, logging and other material men and vendors
  • Project finance
We counsel clients on public utility and competition law, pipeline transactions, transportation and distribution issues, and international trade disputes.

Leasing, Production & Distribution
Over the decades, our clients have included both lessors and lessees in all aspects of oil and gas leasing, production, and distribution. Consequently, JMBM has significant experience with the following:
  • Investors in oil, gas and geothermal drilling projects
  • Syndicators in oil, gas and geothermal ventures
  • Oil, gas and geothermal operators in drilling contracts
  • Vendor negotiations
  • Purchase contracts
  • Permitting and bonding requirements
  • Drafting and negotiation of leases and operating agreements
  • Production purchase and sale agreements
  • Exploration agreements
Project Finance
The Firm's lawyers are experienced with project finance deals ranging from sophisticated partnership and limited liability company structures to complex leveraged leases and off-balance sheet structured financings. Our experience includes:
  • Lease finance
  • Operating leases
  • Leveraged & synthetic leases
  • Project financings and restructurings
Patent Counsel
JMBM has served as counsel for patent work in the oil business, including patent applications, licensing, and validity and infringement studies. Several of JMBM's corporate and intellectual property attorneys have significant technical expertise applicable to the oil and gas arena. Our clients have the advantage of their practical hands-on knowledge as well their comprehensive understanding of the complex processes involved in the oil and gas industries.
Interlaw: National and International Representation
Through JMBM's membership in Interlaw, an international association of law firms in more than 120 cities worldwide, our reach and ability to service clients extends beyond California to locales throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as in Europe, South America, Australia, Asia and Africa. Interlaw comprises well-established, premier law firms in their respective locations and our oil and gas industry clients facing national and international issues can reap the benefits of JMBM's relationships with first-rate lawyers around the world.
Commitment to Client Service
Companies like yours need lawyers who speak your language and understand your business. You deserve quick thinking and creative, bottom-line solutions - not surprises, delays or headaches. We at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP are committed to providing you with useful legal advice, creative solutions to your problems, aggressive advocacy and thoughtful service so that you can pursue your day-to-day business with confidence. Although your company will share legal matters in common with other oil and gas companies, we also recognize that you will have unique issues and specific objectives. We invite you to discuss them with us.

We would appreciate the opportunity to share our experience as it relates to your company's needs and invite you to call on us.