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Baker Botts Secures Appellate Victory in Produced Water Dispute


Baker Botts L.L.P., a leading international law firm, secured a victory in the Eighth Court of Appeals at El Paso, affirming the summary judgment in Cactus Water Services, LLC v. COG Operating, LLC (COG).

The lawsuit arose when Cactus Water obtained “produced water leases” from the surface owners of about 37,000 acres in Reeves County, after the owners had executed oil and gas leases to COG covering the same property. After Cactus Water’s actions threatened to interfere with COG’s oil and gas operations under its existing leases, COG filed a declaratory judgment action asserting its ownership of and rights in the produced water. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment, and the trial judge granted COG’s motion, holding that COG owns the product stream produced from its wells, including produced water.

Cactus Water appealed the decision, and Baker Botts partner Macey Reasoner Stokes argued the case on behalf of COG on April 13. On July 28th, the court decided the ownership question in COG’s favor, and Chief Justice Yvonne Rodriguez wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justice Lisa Soto. It affirmed that “COG has the exclusive right to the oil and gas product stream, including the produced water” and therefore the landowners’ subsequent produced water leases to Cactus Water were “ineffective.”

The Baker Botts appellate team consisted of partners Macey Reasoner Stokes and Ben Gonsoulin.

Baker Botts is an international law firm whose lawyers practice throughout a network of offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients' industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the energy, technology and life sciences sectors. Since 1840, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. For more information, please visit

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