Steptoe & Johnson PLLC

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC is a U.S. law firm with core strengths in energy, labor & employment, litigation and transactional law. In 2013, Steptoe & Johnson celebrated 100 years of helping clients reach their goals.

The Montana Supreme Court has accepted a certified question from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals concerning whether, under Montana law, dinosaur fossils constitute “minerals” for the purpose of a mineral reservation. Who owns dinosaur fossils in Montana? History Lesson:  According to an article in Science Magazine entitled, Are Dinosaur Fossils ‘Minerals’? The Montana Supreme Court will Decide High Stakes Case, “[p]ristine dinosaur fossils discovered in Montana have sparked a property rights dispute that…
Last night, I made salmon patties.  We have this amazing canned Alaskan wild salmon and it makes some extremely delicious salmon patties, let me tell you.  As I was making them last night, one thought kept crossing my mind: I was not in the mood for a basic, plain, old salmon patty.  You know what a regular salmon patty is?  It is boring, that’s what. You know what else can feel a little monotonous?  Reviewing…
The June 2019 Director’s Cut was released last week, on August 15, 2019, by Director Lynn Helms, NDIC Department of Mineral Resources – a full copy of the June 2019 Director’s Cut can be found here. It contained some noteworthy info… The June 2019 Director’s Cut reported the following new all-time high production records in North Dakota: June 2019 Oil Production was 1,424,625 barrels/day and originated primarily from the Bakken and Three Forks June…
Navajo Transitional Energy Company, a wholly owned limited liability company of the Navajo Nation, is about to close a big deal that will substantially impact Wyoming, and potentially the country as a whole.  According to the Casper Star Tribune article entitled, Navajo Nation Coal Company Receives Approval to Purchase Cloud Peak Mines, Navajo Transitional Energy Company was the successful bidder and has received court approval to purchase the Wyoming’s Antelope and Cordero Rojo mines,…
Wyoming is business friendly and has been taking efforts to streamline conflicts related to companies doing business in the Cowboy State.  On March 15, 2019, Governor Gordon signed into law an act of the 2019 Wyoming legislature, Senate File 104, which created a Chancery Court – check out the press release issued by the Wyoming Judicial Branch here.   What is the purpose of the Chancery Court? The Chancery Court is a specialty…
At yesterday’s hearings, the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (“WOGCC”) released a proposed rule aimed at addressing the increased volume of drilling permits filed in the Cowboy State. The formal bulletin entitled, “WOGCC Proposes Rule to Address Volume of Drilling Permits,” can be found here. If approved, the proposed rule, released in accordance with Wyoming’s rulemaking guidelines, will change several aspects concerning the filing of Applications for Permits to Drill (“APDs”), according to…
As I drove from Denver to Sheridan, Wyoming this weekend, two things caught my eye from the highway: 1. Coal: I passed not one, but two trains pulling railcars filled to the brim with coal. It has been awhile since I have seen a full coal train on the move, let alone two within hours of each other! 2. Oil: More derricks are springing up. Actually, I should say three things caught my eye –…
There is one thing on the mind of many folks involved in the oil and gas industry – the upcoming OPEC meeting in Vienna.  On June 25, 2019, the 176th OPEC meeting will be held. In fact, there are already reports out there attempting to predict the potential impacts of the upcoming OPEC meeting and other global factors on the price of oil – check out this recent article from Bloomberg entitled, Bulls Beware: The
The headlines are all talking about supply and demand; specifically, oil supply and its impact on the price of oil.  As of the posting of this, WTI Crude is sitting at $58.07 per barrel and Brent crude is at $67.85 per barrel, according to Bloomberg Energy, and it has folks wondering where oil prices will go from here in light of oil inventories rising.  In fact, Oil & Gas 360 just released an article…
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin Discussing topics in the energy sector gives one a certain, well, energy. A charge or *spark* – a bolt of anticipatory excitement and the promise of potential comes from being “in the know.”  I just received such a spark … The U.S. Energy Information Administration (“EIA”) released a new portal this week that will change the way that we analyze state-level energy data in the United…