Russell W. Miller

Houston

Shareholder

700 Milam Street
Suite 2700
Houston, TX 77002-2806

O: 713.222.1470
D: 713.222.4034
E: rmiller@munsch.com

Russ maintains both an active energy transactional practice and a general civil litigation practice with an emphasis on disputes related to the oil and gas industry. His clients primarily include exploration and production (E&P) companies, midstream companies, marketing companies and downstream transportation companies. He also offers substantial experience representing lenders, commercial real estate developers and landlords in general civil litigation.

Russ has represented energy clients in class action royalty litigation, tort claims asserting subsurface trespass and damage to aquifers and hydrocarbon reservoirs, title disputes, joint interest audits and contractual disputes arising under mineral leases, surface use agreements, gathering and processing agreements, transportation and exchange agreements, joint operating agreements, farm-in/farm-out agreements, geoscientific data licenses, onshore and offshore drilling contracts, vessel charters, EPC agreements, service agreements, marketing agreements, commodity purchase and sale agreements and various types of merger and acquisition transactions. He applies his breadth of litigation experience in the oil and gas industry to (i) counsel clients on internal investigations and regulatory compliance issues; (ii) help them identify and anticipate potential legal and commercial risks in proposed operations and transactions; and (iii) mitigate those risks by negotiating and drafting contracts that address them plainly and directly. 

In addition to his deep energy litigation experience, Russ also is accomplished in litigation involving real estate development, landlord-tenant disputes, debtor-creditor issues, conflicts between equity owners or investors in business organizations and commercial fraud claims.

Russ collaborates with his clients to provide a level of service that is appropriate for the matter at hand, from the smallest and most simple matters to the largest and most complex. He understands that sometimes it is worth the cost and effort to turn over every stone, rock, pebble or sand grain by engaging in exhaustive pre-trial discovery and motions practice or by aggressively negotiating every term in a customized contract that addresses every conceivable risk or scenario – but sometimes it isn’t. That is why – whether litigating a dispute, negotiating a deal or drafting a contract – Russ approaches each matter by first listening carefully to his clients’ practical business concerns and priorities. He then evaluates and explains the risks, allows his clients to decide which are acceptable and which are not and tailors his approach to best achieve his clients’ objectives as effectively and efficiently as possible, within their tolerance for risk and their budgetary constraints.

Most recently, Russ served as the owner of a practice, Miller Legal Offices, representing privately held and publicly traded companies participating in all segments of the oil and gas industry. Prior to that, his legal career led him to serve as a Partner in the Houston office of a major national law firm; as In-House Counsel with both The Coastal Corporation and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, and as Of Counsel with a regional Denver-based law firm that specializes in serving the energy industry.

EDUCATION

  • Bachelor of Science from The University of Texas at Austin
    • Graduated with Honors
  • Juris Doctor from The University of Texas School of Law
    • Student Bar Association (President)

BAR ADMISSIONS

  • Colorado
  • Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern, Western, Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas

  • Defended purchasers in a failed $175 million property acquisition after third-party investors reneged on agreement to fund the earnest money deposit and the seller filed suit for breach of contract and fraud.  After initial discovery and filing a summary judgment motion, negotiated a settlement for less than the anticipated cost of defense.
  • Defended producers in 9 royalty class action lawsuits, and in royalty claims asserted by more than 30 individual landowners in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kansas, Wyoming and Colorado.  Resolved more than $3 billion in total claims and exposure for less than $220 million in aggregate settlements.  
  • Represented an overriding royalty owner in a successful claim to recover $79 million in overriding royalties improperly withheld by offshore lease assignees pursuant to the Deepwater Royalty Relieve Act.
  • Represented the producer in a dispute with the owner of a natural gas storage field regarding right to produce natural gas that was captured by wells lawfully drilled upon the producer’s mineral leasehold outside the boundaries of the storage field’s inadequately delineated and improperly certificated boundaries.  Negotiated a settlement under which the producer agreed to supply replacement gas that it could purchase for less than half the price it had realized from its sales of the produced gas.
  • Represented an interstate pipeline company in multiple claims against a cultural and archaeological resource firms and several survey contractors to recover damages caused by negligent work and invoice overcharges identified in post-construction audits.  Recovered several millions of dollars for the pipeline in confidential settlements.
  • Represented midstream companies in various eminent domain proceedings, applications for injunctions to obtain access to land and landowner claims asserting surface damages and trespass. 
  • Defended a seller against multiple claims that it breached contractual preferential purchase rights and rights of first refusal with regard to multiple asset divestitures.
  • Defended a producer in multiple claims asserted by landowners that mineral leases had expired due to alleged breaches of the lessee’s duty to develop the property, alleged failures to produce in paying quantities and alleged failures to continuously produce or develop acreage subject to vertical and horizontal Pugh clauses.
  • Defended operators against various claims of improper charges to non-operators under COPAS. 
  • Negotiated and drafted multiple natural gas gathering and processing agreements on behalf of independent producers.
  • Negotiated and drafted asset purchase agreement for $200 million dollar transaction to acquire producing properties and related gathering assets in Oklahoma.
  • Negotiated and drafted a precedent agreement on behalf of a producer for shipment of natural gas on a proposed interstate pipeline.
  • Negotiated and drafted an asset marketing agreement on behalf of an operator, allowing it to utilize its transportation capacity on interstate pipelines to ship non-operators’ production.
  • Negotiated and drafted a terminaling agreement and facilities access agreement on behalf of a producer shipping crude oil by truck and rail service.
  • Represented a producer before public utility commission in purchase of crude oil gathering line and terminal being abandoned by an interstate pipeline company.
  • Advised multiple producers on configuration of field equipment and centralized production facilities for purposes of complying with royalty obligations and maximizing allowable deductions from federal royalties.
  • Represented a producer in obtaining multi-million dollar recovery of marketing cost refunds from severance taxes paid over the course of many years.

  • Colorado Bar Association, Energy and Natural Resources Law Section
  • State Bar of Texas, Oil and Gas Section