I think it’ll open the doors for a lot of the vertical operators to come in and get what’s theirs.” Oilman Andy Sheen.
Two days after winning what might be the first lawsuit by a vertical well operator blaming a horizontal well driller on the loss of a stripper well, Oklahoma City oilman Andy Sheen is predicting others might also head to court.
“I think it’ll open the doors for a lot of the vertical operators to come in and get what’s theirs,” he told OK Energy Today after winning a $220,000 judgment against Devon Energy.
It might also not be Sheen’s last such lawsuit.
“This is the third time I’ve been fracked into. My wells make $35,000 to $40,000 a year. I’m very small,” he said. One driller, Continental Resources allegedly ruined another of Sheen’s small wells and immediately settled out of court with him, buying the well and taking care of plugging it.
But another lost well could end up in court like the suit he filed over the 2015 loss of his stripper well in Blaine County.
“I’m gonna look further into it and see if I can get any proof it’s what they did. If I can, I’m gonna go after another major,” he vowed.
But the lawsuit isn’t finished. Sheen’s attorney, John Lee of Edmond realizes Devon could take the case to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court in Denver.
Whether his victory is a legal precedent and will lead other small independents to challenge horizontal drillers, Lee isn’t so sure.
“I’ve had a lot of clients fracked into but no one’s hired me to file suit,” he said. “They know the “tall building lawyers” can bleed ’em to death.”
But Lee has sent demand letters to major companies in the fracking fight. He said it’s clearly a situation of the vertical well operators and owners of stripper wells not having the financial resources to take on majors like Devon Energy and others.
“They just don’t have the financial horsepower individually. It takes a lot of money.”