Michael Byrd is an experienced and recognized attorney in the oil and gas industry, whose practice emphasizes upstream M&A transactions.

Practice & Background

Mr. Byrd counsels clients in a broad spectrum of US upstream M&A transactions.  He has served as lead counsel on over 100 acquisitions, divestitures, and joint ventures.  Mr. Byrd has specialized in oil and gas law for 30 years.  He is Board Certified in Oil, Gas and Mineral Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and is a five-time chairman of the committee that writes and grades the exam for such certification.  

Mr. Byrd is also licensed in Louisiana and Pennsylvania, where he was the primary drafter of the 2013 legislation that gave Marcellus shale operators the statutory right to drill horizontal allocation wells in the absence of pooling authority – a statute which withstood a subsequent constitutional challenge.  He is a frequent speaker and author who has published numerous articles for several prominent legal publications.

Mr. Byrd also represents clients in various oil and gas litigation matters. He has worked on disputes involving trespass and conversion, breach of contract, lease termination, nonpayment of royalty, surface access, operating agreements, and title and environmental defects asserted in connection with purchases of producing properties. 

Representative Matters

Mr. Byrd’s representations include advising:

  • Sanchez Energy Corporation in a Joint Development Agreement with Blackstone Group LP in connection with a $2.3 billion acquisition of Eagle Ford Shale assets from Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
  • GSO Capital Partners in an equity and debt investment to fund the $1.24 billion acquisition of assets in the Marcellus Shale from Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
  • Gulfport Energy Corporation in a $1.85 billion acquisition of assets in the Oklahoma SCOOP play from Vitruvian II Woodford, LLC
  • Gulfport Energy Corporation in an $86.6 million acquisition of assets in the Utica Shale from XTO Energy Inc. and Phillips Exploration, LLC
  • Diamondback Energy, Inc. in a $2.43 billion acquisition of Delaware Basin assets from Brigham Resources Operating, LLC and Brigham Resources Midstream, LLC
  • Gulfport Energy Corporation in a $50 million sale of assets in West Virginia to American Petroleum Partners Operating, LLC, an Apollo portfolio company
  • a leading public E&P company in a combination of mergers and asset purchases to acquire assets in the Delaware Basin and the Powder River Basin for $2.3 billion
  • Newfield Exploration Company in connection with its $471 million acquisition of Stack Play assets from Chesapeake Exploration Company
  • Blackstone Group LP in connection with its investment in a $140 million drilling partnership in the Marcellus Shale
  • a leading public E&P company in the acquisition of oil and gas assets in the Permian Basin from Endeavor Energy Resources for $261 million
  • Goodrich Petroleum Company in the sale of Eagle Ford shale assets to EP Energy E&P Company for $118,000,000
  • Gulfport Energy Corporation in an agreement to acquire Paloma Partners III, LLC for a total purchase price of $301.3 million, and involving undeveloped leasehold located in the core of the dry gas window of the Utica Shale
  • a public E&P company in the acquisition of oil and gas leases and wells and associated equipment in the Delaware Basin in West Texas and New Mexico from a private E&P company for $261 million
  • a private equity-backed E&P company in a Joint Exploration and Development Agreement in the East Texas Eaglebine play with one of the world’s largest public E&P companies
  • Newfield Exploration Company in the sale of its Granite Wash assets in Texas and Oklahoma to Templar Energy for $588.5 million
  • Diamondback Energy in the acquisition of assets in the Midland Basin from Rio Oil & Gas for $538 million
  • Newfield Exploration Company in a large Farmout and Participation Agreement in the Eagle Ford Shale
  • a private equity fund in its $172 million debt and equity investment to fund a private E&P company’s acquisition of oil and gas assets in Colorado
  • a Fortune 100 E&P company in the acquisition of oil and gas assets in East Texas for $70 million
  • Sanchez Energy Company in the acquisition of assets in the Eagle Ford Shale for $639 million
  • TGS, a leading seismic company, in the sale of assets in the US Gulf of Mexico for $35 million
  • an operator in a pending dispute over royalty payments
  • EQT Corporation in connection with horizontal pooling legislation in Pennsylvania and West Virginia
  • Blue Tip Energy, a private equity fund, in the acquisition and disposition of oil and gas assets in Missouri
  • Yates Energy in a pending dispute with a directional drilling contractor
  • Nebraska Alliance, a privately held company, in the sale of oil and gas properties in Nebraska
  • a public E&P company in a joint venture covering 100,000 acres in the East Texas Eaglebine Formation
  • the owner of a carried interest in a successful arbitration over interpretation of a Farmout agreement
  • NFR Energy in the acquisition of assets in the Anadarko Basin for $655 million
  • a pipeline company in a dispute over trespass on lands and expiration of easements, obtaining a very favorable settlement 
  • NFR Energy in the acquisition of assets in the Eagle Ford Shale for $81 million
  • a non-operator in a pending dispute over excessive joint interest billing charges
  • a Fortune 100 E&P company in the sale of assets in multiple fields in S. Texas for $60.25 million
  • a Fortune 100 E&P company in a multi-well joint venture agreement on the King Ranch in S. Texas
  • a non-operator in a dispute over applicability of a preferential right to purchase, obtaining a very favorable settlement
  • Goodrich Petroleum in the sale of oil and gas assets in East Texas to Memorial Production Operating LLC for $95 million
  • Hunt Oil Company in the divestiture of producing properties in the Gulf of Mexico for $62.25 million
  • Davis Petroleum Corp.in the acquisition of producing properties in South Louisiana for $23.3 million
  • Davis Petroleum Corp.in the sale of oil and gas assets in the Permian Basin for $9 million
  • several seismic companies in disputes over surface access rights
  • Pawnee Pipeline Company, an affiliate of Yates Energy Corporation, in an exchange of a pipeline system in the Eagle Ford Shale for units in a publicly traded master limited partnership
  • EQT Corporation in an $83 million acquisition of leases in the Utica Shale in Ohio, and a corresponding related Exploration and Area of Mutual Interest Agreement
  • Geokinetics in a dispute over a fee for the transfer of seismic data following a change of control; obtained a very favorable settlement
  • a Fortune 100 E&P company in a divestiture of producing properties in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi for $320 million
  • Yates Energy Corporation in a farm-out and participation agreement in the Eagle Ford Shale in a transaction for $16 million at closing plus an ORRI and a multi-well carried working interest
  • NFR Energy in an acquisition of producing properties in East Texas for $231 million
  • a Fortune 100 E&P company in a $15.5 million divestiture of properties in US federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico to a private equity backed company
  • two private companies in the sale of oil and gas properties in Colorado for $13.8 million
  • a Fortune 100 E&P company in a $21 million sale of offshore Texas assets in the Gulf of Mexico
  • a Fortune 100 E&P company in a $315 million divestiture of producing properties in East Texas
  • an Indonesian-based energy company in connection with the formation of a Texas limited liability company, and subsequent $31 million acquisition of producing properties located in South Texas
  • a private oil company in the sale of a pipeline system in Texas
  • EQT Corporation in a $33 million acquisition of leasehold acreage in the Marcellus Shale
  • Davis Petroleum Corp. in a $25.5 million acquisition of producing properties in Vermilion Parish in South Louisiana
  • Davis Petroleum Corp. in a $25 million acquisition of producing properties in Galveston Bay, Texas
  • a public company in a sale of shallow rights in the Haynesville Shale in Texas for $68 million
  • Inpex Corp. in an approximate $168 million acquisition, Participation Agreement, and Joint Operating Agreement in the US Gulf of Mexico
  • BG Group in providing comments on Pennsylvania pooling legislation for the Marcellus Shale
  • a client in a $55 million multi-well farm-in in the Eagle Ford Shale
  • Ellora Energy in a multi-well farmout for horizontal drilling in the Haynesville Shale, East Texas
  • Pioneer Natural Gas in the transfer of producing properties in the Permian Basin into a master limited partnership, and the subsequent transfer of additional assets
  • a client in a Participation Agreement for exploration in the Eagle Ford Shale, South Texas
  • Ellora Energy in a $100 million dispute over lease termination and slander of title to over 4,000 net mineral acres in the Haynesville Shale, East Texas, obtaining a very favorable settlement, and documented a multi-well joint venture agreement in conjunction with the settlement
  • Ellora Energy in a multi-well farmout agreement for horizontal drilling in the Haynesville Shale, Louisiana
  • a Fortune 100 E&P company in a $51 million acquisition of producing properties in North Louisiana
  • Pogo Producing Company in a $35 million dispute over title and environmental defects asserted against the sellers of a company acquired by the client, obtaining a very favorable settlement
  • Pogo Producing Company in the sale of all of its assets in the Gulf of Mexico for $420 million to Energy XXI
  • ROM Minerals (now Indigo Minerals) in the formation of a joint venture involving contributions of cash and minerals covering a large land position in the Haynesville Shale and other Louisiana fields, and in various operational issues subsequent to formation
  • Ellora Energy in the acquisition of producing assets in the Hugoton Field for $30 million
  • Pogo Producing Company in the sale of one-half of its entire interest in the Gulf of Mexico for $500 million to a subsidiary of Mitsui Corporation
  • Pogo Producing Company in the $750 million acquisition of Latigo Petroleum, a privately held oil and gas company with assets in the Texas Panhandle and Permian Basin
  • Pogo Producing Company in the $214 million acquisition of Stallion Energy, a privately held oil and gas company with assets in the Texas Panhandle
  • Pogo Producing Company in the acquisition of producing properties in the San Juan Basin from Calpine Corp. for $84 million
  • PGS Onshore, a leading onshore geophysical company, in a transaction to acquire an equity interest in a new company created with an oil and gas operator customer
  • Pogo Producing Company in the $105 million acquisition of a privately held oil and gas company with assets in the San Juan Basin
  • Pogo Producing Company in the acquisition of producing properties in South Louisiana for $22.7 million
  • a Fortune 100 E&P company in the exchange of undeveloped acreage for producing properties in Lavaca County, Texas
  • Pogo Producing Company in the $43 million acquisition of producing properties on the Texas Gulf Coast
  • Pogo Producing Company in the acquisition of producing properties in South Louisiana for $18.2 million
  • Yates Energy Corporation in an agreement for the exploration of coalbed methane in Northeast Louisiana
  • a leading independent U.S. E&P company in the acquisition of oil and gas wells and leasehold in southern Oklahoma for $100 million
  • a confidential Fortune 500 company in an acquisition of oil and gas properties in Houston County, Texas, for $70 million
  • a confidential Fortune 500 company in a $15 million amendment of an existing Joint Exploration and Development Agreement in the Eaglebine area of East Texas.

Community Involvement

  • Houston Bar Association - Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Section
  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization - Chairman, Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Advisory Commission (2008 to 2012)
  • Chairman, Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Exam Commission (2009 to 2013)
  • American and Houston Associations of Professional Landmen - Member
  • Houston Producers' Forum - Member
  • Institute for Energy Law - Member, Institute Advisory Board
  • The Joy School Annual Fund, Current Parent Co-Chair (2014 to 2015)
  • Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation - Member

Awards and Accolades

  • Recognized as a leading practitioner in Energy: Oil & Gas by Chambers USA (2013 to 2016)
  • Selected to Houston Business Journal’s Who’s Who in Energy (2013, 2014, 2016)
  • Named to the Texas Super Lawyers list for Energy & Natural Resources Law (2008 to 2015)
  • Selected to The Best Lawyers in America®in Natural Resource Law, Energy Law and/ot Oil and Gas Law (2010 to 2018)
  • Selected as a Leading Lawyer in Energy by The Legal 500 (2015)

Speaking Engagements

  • “The Elusive “Middle of the Road PSA”: Creative and Collaborative Solutions to Current and Recurrent Issues in Purchase and Sale Agreements,” Houston Bar Association Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Section Lunch Program (January 26, 2017)
  • “Acquiring Upstream Assets Via Joint Ventures: An In-Depth Study of Deal Structures, Key Negotiating Points, Drafting Tips, and Relevant Law”, Institute for Energy Law, 2nd Mergers & Acquisitions / Acquisitions & Disposals Conference (April 14, 2015)
  • “Nontraditional Upstream Transactions and Joint Ventures,” North Houston Association of Professional Landmen Luncheon (October 2014)
  • “Areas of Mutual Interest – Potential Issues,” Newfield Exploration Land Forum (September 2014)
  • Upstream Joint Ventures, American Association of Professional Landmen Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada (June 2014)
  • Co-Presenter, Baker & McKenzie Global Oil & Gas Institute (January 2014)
  • “Investment Opportunities in Eagle Ford Infrastructure Expansion,” Panel Discussion, Infocast Eagle Ford Infrastructure Finance & Development Summit, San Antonio, Texas (June 2012)
  • “Shale Oil and Gas Opportunities,” Baker & McKenzie Client Conference, Madrid, Spain (April 16, 2012)
  • “Bringing Marcellus Gas to Market: New Opportunities and New Challenges in 2012 and Beyond,” Keynote Panel, Infocast Marcellus Infrastructure Finance & Development Summit, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (October 2011)
  • “Mergers and Acquisitions - What You Should Know: Acquiring Direct Interests in Energy Assets,” Baker & McKenzie Global Energy Webinar Series (September 2011)
  • “Title Defect Issues in Purchase and Sale Agreements,” The University of Texas School of Law 37th Annual Ernest E. Smith Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Institute (April  2011)
  • Presiding Officer and Moderator, Infocast Shale Gas Environmental Seminar (November 2010)
  • “Anatomy of a Purchase and Sale Agreement for Producing Properties,” 23rd Annual South Texas College of Law Energy Institute for Attorneys and Landmen (September 2010)
  • Co- Presenter, “Land and Legal Issues in Shale Plays,” Houston Association of Professional Landmen Annual Technical Workshop (April 2010)
  • Co- Presenter, “Common Legal Issues in U. S. Shale Plays,” Baker & McKenzie Webinar (March 2010)
  • “The Emerging Eagle Ford: Early Results,” Oil and Gas Investor Webinar (August 2009)
  • “Legal Issues in Emerging Resource Plays,” Thompson & Knight Client Seminar (October 2008)
  • “Common Issues in Dealing with Custom Oil & Gas Lease Forms,” North Houston Association of Professional Landmen Spring Seminar (March 2002)