Michael Byrd

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

$ $$$

Louisiana Street 1111
Houston 77002 TX US

Michael J. Byrd is a transactional lawyer who knows oil and gas from the ground up. Before focusing on upstream mergers and acquisitions, Mike was immersed in the nuts and bolts of oil and gas exploration and development for nearly two decades, as both a lawyer and a landman. He has been certified in Oil, Gas and Mineral Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for more than 20 years, and he has served 5 times as chair of the Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Exam Commission, which writes and grades the exam for that certification.

Mike’s deep technical and operational knowledge enables him to spot subtle, but critical, issues in purchase and sale agreements. His insights have often led to material purchase price adjustments and reallocation of risk in favor of his clients.

Experience:

  • Has focused on upstream mergers and acquisitions since 2000.
  • Lead counsel in more than 100 oil and gas acquisitions and divestitures over the past 20 years.
  • Board certified in Oil, Gas and Mineral Law.

Representative Work:

  • Advised Diamondback O&G LLC in a Participation and Development Agreement whereby an affiliate of The Carlyle Group will provide $620 million to fund drilling programs in the Permian Basin, the majority of which will come out of production revenue from the drilling programs.
  • Represented Sanchez Energy Corporation in a joint development agreement with Blackstone Group LP for a $2.3 billion acquisition of Eagle Ford Shale assets from Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. The transaction more than doubled Sanchez’s position in the Eagle Ford Shale, made it one of the largest operators in the Western Eagle Ford region and significantly increased its stock price.
  • Advised Gulfport Energy Corporation in the sale of oil and gas assets in South Louisiana to PEL Gulf Coast, LLC. The transaction provides for a closing price of $19.7 million, with several unique earn-out provisions for post-closing payments of up to $23.3 million, for a potential $43 million total purchase price.
  • Counseled Diamondback Exploration Inc. in a $2.43 billion acquisition of oil and gas assets in the Delaware Basin, including 76,000 prime net acres in Pecos and Reeves counties. The transaction, which included complex indemnity provisions and leasing options, was negotiated and documented in only eight days and doubled Diamondback’s prime drilling inventory.
  • Obtained a complete victory on behalf of Yates Energy Corporation in the Texas 4th District Court of Appeals in a dispute over conflicting claims to valuable mineral rights in the heart of the Eagle Ford Shale oil field. The ruling makes new law that will have a significant impact in resolving similar title disputes.
  • Represented Newfield Exploration Company in the $588 million sale of its Granite Wash assets in Texas and Oklahoma to Templar Energy LLC. Negotiated and successfully disputed all title defects asserted by the buyer, saving the client more than $27 million in purchase price adjustments.
  • Advised Gulfport Energy Corporation in a sale of Marcellus Shale rights below existing Gulfport Utica Shale production in Ohio to Tug Hill Exploration for approximately $25.5 million.
  • Counseled Diamondback Energy, Inc. in the acquisition of Energen Corporation for $9.2 billion in stock.
  • Represented Diamondback Energy, Inc. in an acquisition of largely undeveloped acreage in the Permian Basin from Ajax Resources, LLC, for a combined $1.24 billion in cash and equity.
  • Advised Viper Energy Partners LLC in a $38 million acquisition of fee mineral interests in the Midland Basin from Fort Worth Mineral Company LLC.
  • Represented Newfield Production Company in the sale of multiple wellbores in the Bakken Shale, North Dakota, to Arkoma Drilling, LP, for $2.5 million plus the assumption of all P&A liability.
  • Advised Diamondback O&G LLC in a $53.2 million sale of producing and non-producing Permian Basin assets to Double Eagle Energy.
  • Advised a confidential large cap public E&P company in an exchange of assets in Texas and New Mexico valued at approximately $60 million with a confidential private equity portfolio company, using a complex transaction structure that successfully avoided public disclosure of the client’s entry into the area.
  • Counseled Gulfport Energy Corporation in a $1.85 billion acquisition of assets in the Oklahoma SCOOP play from Vitruvian II Woodford, LLC.
  • Represented Gulfport Energy Corporation in a $50 million sale of assets in West Virginia to American Petroleum Partners Operating, LLC, an Apollo portfolio company.
  • Advised Newfield Exploration Company in connection with its $471 million acquisition of Stack play assets from Chesapeake Exploration Company.
  • Represented Goodrich Petroleum Company in the sale of Eagle Ford shale assets to EP Energy E&P Company for $118 million.
  • Counseled Blackstone Group LP in connection with its investment in a $140 million drilling partnership in the Marcellus Shale.
  • Represented 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.
  • Advised Gulfport Energy Corporation in an $86.6 million acquisition of assets in the Utica Shale from XTO Energy Inc. and Phillips Exploration, LLC.
  • Represented 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.

Speeches:

  • “Upstream Joint Ventures,” American Association of Professional Landmen Annual Meeting, Montreal, June 2014.
  • “Areas of Mutual Interest – Potential Issues,” Newfield Exploration Land Forum, September 2014.
  • “Nontraditional Upstream Transactions and Joint Ventures,” North Houston Association of Professional Landmen, October 2014.
  • “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 Conference, April 14, 2015.
  • “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, January 26, 2017.

Affiliations:

  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Chairman of Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Advisory Commission, 2008 to 2012.
  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Chairman of Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Exam Commission, 2009 to 2013.
  • American and Houston Associations of Professional Landmen
  • Advisory Board Member, Institute for Energy Law.

Recognition:

  • Legal 500 Leading Lawyer in Energy, 2015.
  • Houston Business Journal’s Who’s Who in Energy, 2013, 2014 and 2016.
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Energy Law, and Oil and Gas Law, 2010 to 2019.
  • Texas Super Lawyers, Energy & Natural Resources Law, 2008 to 2018.
  • Chambers USA, leading practitioner in Energy: Oil & Gas, 2013 to 2018.

Education:

  • J.D., University of Texas School of Law, with honors, 1987
  • B.B.A., University of Texas at Austin, with honors, 1980

Bar Admissions:

  • Louisiana
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas

Cost

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Louisiana Street 1111
Houston 77002 TX US
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Broadway 42
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