Bill Kroger

Practice Group Chair - Energy Litigation (Firmwide) Partner

[email protected]

Houston

P: +1.713.229.1736
F: +1.713.229.2836
Bill Kroger

"Bill Kroger is one of the most impressive legal minds in the oil business"

Chambers USA 2022

"His strategy for cases has always been first-rate and puts us in the strongest position to win."

"He is a creative thinker and a great litigator who knows the industry very well."

Chambers USA 2023

Bill Kroger is a leading energy litigation lawyer in the United States, and one of only a few lawyers who Chambers USA has ranked “Band 1 for Oil and Gas Litigation - Nationwide” (2020-2023). The Legal 500 U.S. likewise ranks Bill as “Hall of Fame" for Energy Litigation. He also regularly handles major real estate and other complex commercial litigation throughout Texas and other states.

Bill's "knowledge and guidance is top-notch.” “His courtroom and procedural awareness at trial is his greatest strength. He really knows what he's doing and he's very good at working with clients.”

Chambers USA 2021

Bill has chaired the firm's Energy Litigation group since 2008, and is Co-Chair of the firm’s Energy Pillar. The Texas Lawyer selected the firm's Energy Litigation Group as the “Energy Litigation Department of the Year” in both 2016 and 2017. In 2020-2023, Chambers ranked the Baker Botts Energy Litigation group as the only practice group "Band 1" Nationally for Energy Litigation: Oil and Gas. The Legal 500 U.S. ranked the group as "Tier 1" in Oil & Gas Litigation for every year from 2010 to 2023, and Tier 2 for Energy Litigation: Electric Power.

During his career, Bill has represented energy clients in many of the most significant power, renewable, oil and gas, and other energy disputes of the past 30 years. Many of these matters involve the development of new energy projects and technologies. They include:

  • Litigation and regulatory disputes for renewable, co-gen, and other power and gas clients arising out of Winter Storm Uri that rocked the electric and gas markets in Texas in 2021;
  • Defense of nuisance and construction claims against solar, pipeline, wind, oil and gas, and other energy projects, including defense of the largest coastal wind farm in the United States;
  • Kinder Morgan in multiple legal proceedings by parties seeking to block development of its $2 billion Permian Highway Pipeline;
  • Oil, gas and power claims involving price spikes, pipeline constraints, force majeure, and NAESB and other contractual disputes; arising out of freezes, storms, pandemics, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and other events;
  • Commercial arbitration dispute between LNG operator and customer over cargos shipped by operator allegedly prior to COD, which customer disputes. 
  • Corrosion claims involving crude oil tank cars carrying Bakken crude, including trial against CIT Rail on $40 million of corrosion claims;
  • Major defense of litigation against major multinational oil company on claims arising out of the Lac-Mégantic explosion;
  • Defense of wrongful death and property damage claims arising out of explosions and other industrial accidents at refineries, drill sites, construction sites, and other locations;
  • Defended the Texas Oil and Gas Association against the City of Denton, seeking to impose the first ban on fracking in a shale play in Texas. The litigation resulted in the termination of the ban and major changes in state regulation of oil and gas;
  • Represented Houston utility in major court and regulatory proceedings arising out of the deregulation of the electric utility industry in the State of Texas, as well as the first rate case post-deregulation;
  • Defense of U.S. oil and gas traders from claims by Pemex that traders had purchased more than $300 million of stolen hydrocarbons;
  • Defense of Texas electric utility before the Texas Supreme Court on the Auchan case, dealing with the issue of the enforceability of its limitation of liability provision in its tariff. This case established the legal viability of tariff provisions in the State of Texas.

"His greatest strength is having good practical knowledge of what is and is not important, and know how to prepare his clients for each step of the litigation process."

Chambers USA 2020

"Bill leads the team and has substantial experience in big-ticket oil and gas disputes."

The Legal 500 U.S. 2020

Bill has represented clients in state and federal courts and in arbitrations throughout the United States. He has also appeared before numerous state and federal energy regulatory agencies.

Over his career, Bill's clients have included Hines Interests Limited Partnership, EOG Resources, Engie North America, Murphy Oil, NRG Energy, EDP Renewables, Brookfield Renewables, CenterPoint Energy, Hecate Energy, Avangrid, Ford Motor Company, Galp Energia, BASF, Shell Oil, Kinder Morgan, Naturgy Energy Group, BHP Petroleum, Courson Oil and Gas, Vega Energy, Matador Resources, Enable Energy, Carlyle Group, Freeport Power, Pine Gate Renewables, The Texas Oil and Gas Association, EQT, Dominion Resources, Lovett Industrial and Lovett Commercial, and Texas legend Earl Campbell.

Bill is also one of the leaders of the Houston legal community. He was elected as President of the Houston Bar Association for the 2020-21 bar year, which coincided with the 150th Anniversary of the HBA and the Covid year. He has chaired or led Houston Volunteer Lawyers, the Dispute Resolution Committee, Houston Lawyers Referral Services, and the Houston Bar Foundation, among other organizations. He has also served as a director of the State Bar of Texas for two different terms,and served on the Executive Committee of the State Bar of Texas during the 2023-2024 year.

"He is a fantastic lawyer and a good, big-picture thinker."

Chambers USA 2022

In 2021, the Houston Bar Foundation awarded Bill the James B. Sales Pro Bono Award, for a lifetime of pro bono leadership. It is the highest award given by HBF. In 2022, the HBF asked Bill to be its Keynote Speaker for the HBF's 150th anniversary luncheon. In 2020, the Anti-Defamation League awarded Bill its Karen H. Susman Jurisprudence Award for his dedication to the legal profession, legal history, and service to the Houston community. In 2017, Bill was elected by his peers to the American Law Institute. In 2015, Bill received the Leon Jaworski Award from the Houston Bar Association Auxiliary for a lifetime of public service.

Bill is a graduate of both the McCombs School of Business and the School of Law at the University of Texas. In 2021, the Dean of the University of Houston Law Center named Bill an "Honorary Alumnus." In 2022, the Dean of the South Texas College of Law named Bill to its Board of Visitors in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the law school. In 2024, as part of its 100th Anniversary Celebration, South Texas College of Law asked Bill to interview its alumnus, Dan Rather of CBS, about his time at the school in the 1950s.

Since 2008, Bill has served as Historian of Baker Botts, and created the Firm’s “Founders Room” in 2015. In 2010, the Texas Supreme Court appointed Bill to chair the Texas Supreme Court Historical Court Records Task Force. Bill’s work led to the preservation of thousands of historical court records across Texas, including records pertaining to Charles Goodnight, Satanta, John Wesley Hardin, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Lyndon Johnson, Lead Belly, the KKK, Civil Rights, the Balinese Ballroom, and the boxer Jack Johnson. Bill’s work was featured in Texas Monthly and the Texas Bar Journal in 2012.

Bill also serves as General Counsel of the Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts, and on the Board of Directors of Communities in Schools Houston as Vice-Chair. Bill also served on the Board of the Alley Theatre from 2015 to 2023.

Bill also has been active in the arts and serves as General Counsel of the Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts. In 2014, Bill worked with Houston Grand Opera on a new opera about Emeline, an illegally enslaved African American who was kidnapped and sold on the Houston slavery market in 1848. She was represented by Peter W. Gray, one of the founders of Baker Botts, and working together they secured her freedom. The story of Emeline, the opera, and Bill’s work on it are featured in a 2016 story in Texas Monthly. Bill has also served on the Board of Directors of the Alley Theatre from 2016 to 2023.

Starting in 2017, Bill represented the daughter and estate of Mack McCormick, one of the most important Texas folklorists, who passed away in 2015, leaving behind an archive comprising thousands of photos, documents, and tapes concerning Texas blues and folk music and the blues musicians Robert Johnson, Lightnin' Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb. Bill and Roger Fulghum of the firm represented the Estate pro bono for seven years. As a result of their efforts, the McCormick archive now resides at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Smithsonian Books published McCormick’s book on Robert Johnson, and Folkways Records released an anthology of more than 70 unreleased songs, which was nominated for two Grammys.

In 2023, Bill was nominated by the Bishop of the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, and elected by Conference delegates, to serve as Chancellor and provide legal advice to the Bishop and the Conference starting in 2023. The Conference covers 304 congregations and a region encompassing Galveston, Houston, Beaumont, Texarkana, Longview, Tyler and towns in between. Bill's work as Chancellor is ongoing.

Bill has also been active with Communities in Schools Houston since 1992, having served on the Board of Directors since 1993. He currently serves on the Executive Committee and is Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors. He also created and helped sustain the CISH/HBA Legal Internship Program, which has employed more than 800 young people since 1992.

Related Experience

DEEP REAL ESTATE AND OTHER COMPLEX COMMERCIAL LITIGATION EXPERIENCE:

Complex Commercial Litigation

  • Earl Campbell – represented Hall of Fame legend on a complex commercial dispute which was successfully resolved
  • Won arbitration over lease rate on surface lease for office building in downtown Houston
  • Office and residential high rise buildings – Defense of numerous nuisance, warranty, construction, and tenant, indemnity wrongful death and personal injury claims
  • Industrial Warehouse Developer – multiple matters involving PSA disputes
  • Sport Marketing Firm – force majeure issues involving COVID-19
  • Restaurant – Texas counsel on claims associated with roll-out, construction, and operation of state-wide Texas restaurant chain
  • Nationwide retailer – Texas counsel on construction and roll-out of flagship retail store
  • Mall – Litigation counsel for claims pertaining to premier Houston-area shopping mall
  • Auto manufacturer – Defense of numerous product liability, warranty, and other consumer claims
  • Equipment manufacturer – Defense of product liability, warranty and other consumer claims
  • Lift manufacturer – Defense of product liability claims
  • Numerous commercial enterprises – Issues involving indemnities, disclaimers, warranties and limitations of liability
  • Banks and corporations – Disputes with insureds over rights to corporate-owned life insurance
  • Life insurer – Defense of claim brought by Attorney General in dispute of thousands of allegedly unpaid policy refunds
  • Real estate developer – Litigation regarding City of Houston downtown tunnel dispute
  • Food distributor/manufacturer – Arbitration over costs pertaining to construction of cheesecake factory
  • Representation of real estate developer and REIT regarding shutdown and restart issues relating to COVID-19
  • Defense of real estate developer who was sued as a result of an accident involving a person who fell out of a third-story window of a building.

BROAD RANGE OF POWER, OIL AND GAS, AND OTHER ENERGY LITIGATION MATTERS:

Electric, Gas and Other Utilities

  • Power Generator – dispute over the application of a right of first refusal to the sale of a company owning an interest in the South Texas Nuclear Power Plant.  
  • Power Generators – Multiple disputes for power generators related to price of power arising out of Winter Storm URI in 2021
  • Wind facilities – multiple arbitration and litigation disputes relating to alleged breaches of power purchase agreements
  • Electric utility – Multiple disputes before Texas PUC over right to build a 160-mile transmission line
  • Electric and gas utilities – Class action franchise fee lawsuits brought by 45 Texas cities
  • Electric utility – Dispute by city over construction of electric transmission line
  • Electric utility – Disputes before Texas PUC over ownership and routing of transmission lines
  • Gas storage – Claims that construction of facility damaged oil and gas reserves of surrounding property owners
  • Radioactive waste disposal – Rate and other regulatory agency disputes before TCEQ and TLLRWDC concerning the disposal of radioactive waste
  • Electric utility – Numerous lawsuits involving personal injuries and property losses arising out of electricity lines
  • Electric utility – Litigation on tariff limitation of liability provisions before Texas Supreme Court
  • Electric utility – Claims to recover billions in stranded costs on generation assets arising from deregulation of electric utility industry
  • Merchant transmission – CCN proceedings before Texas PUC
  • Electric utility – Litigation over royalty override in gas storage field in West Virginia
  • Arbitration over the recovery by an oil and gas producer of more than $40 million in costs relating to a Gulf of Mexico production platform
  • Solar generator – defense of nuisance litigation against major East Texas solar facility in multiple forums

Renewable Energy

  • Wind and solar facilities – defense of claims arising out of Winter Storm Uri in 2021-2024
  • Wind facilities – multiple arbitration and litigation disputes relating to alleged breaches of power purchase agreements
  • Wind Generator – defense of claim by radio station claiming interference with radio signal by wind farm
  • Wind generator – Landowner nuisance disputes
  • Wind generator – Claims by environmental group for injunctive relief to shut down construction of wind farm on Texas coast
  • Wind generator – Numerous disputed controversies before Texas PUC, including CREZ transmission lines
  • Wind generator – Analyzed claims and lawsuits in connection with multi-billion bid on wind assets
  • Solar generator – defense of nuisance litigation against major East Texas solar facility in multiple forums
  • Solar generator – defense of solar developer in nuisance case in Bandera County, Texas over the construction of a Texas solar facility. 

Oil and Gas Upstream/Operators and Working Interests

  • Defense of antitrust price-fixing complaints filed against oil and gas producers
  • Foreclosure litigation over JOAs and other oil and gas assets in Texas and Oklahoma
  • Lease, royalty, title and other lawsuits in Eagle Ford, Permian, Marcellus and other shale plays
  • Flaring litigation in Texas and North Dakota
  • Lawsuits in Alabama, West Virginia, Utah and Texas concerning rights of first refusal arising out of purchase and sale transactions of onshore and offshore oil and gas properties
  • Disputes with surface owners and lessors in shale plays in Texas, Pennsylvania, Wyoming and other states
  • Litigation and regulatory disputes relating to ownership, operation and permitting of disposal wells
  • Disputes over royalty, offset wells, drainage and other lease terms between lessors and operators
  • Disputes regarding top leases and title disputes
  • Defense of numerous lawsuits and claims for personal injury, death, indemnity and insurance coverage arising out of drilling and competing activities
  • Disputes regarding allocation wells in Texas
  • Oilfield supply contract disputes
  • Infrastructure disputes with government agencies over roadway damage
  • Nuisance litigation relating to drilling, completion and gathering activities
  • Forced pooling and bad faith pooling disputes before Texas Railroad Commission and courts
  • Development of policies on guns, alcohol and drugs in drilling locations
  • Suits to quiet title concerning shale play leases
  • Litigation and counseling on working interest rights in shale plays
  • Opposition to frac ban legislation
  • Litigation regarding indemnity for royalty trust expenses
  • Dispute over whether frac’ing of an oil well damaged a salt water dispute well located nearby

Pipeline and Other Energy Transportation

  • Injunction and other proceedings to enjoin and block development of oil and gas pipelines and other infrastructure
  • Litigation regarding disruption of pipeline services related to hurricanes and application of force majeure
  • Force majeure litigation over a pipeline’s failure to purchase more than $10 million of steel pipe
  • Counseling and advice regarding development of water pipeline project for Texas shale plays
  • Litigation regarding alleged corrosion to tanker railcars holding Bakken crude
  • Defended litigation concerning Lac-Mégantic railcar exploration in Canada
  • Analysis of congestion issues in Permian Basin

Oil and Gas Downstream

  • Petrochemical company – Arbitration over dispute with partner regarding interpretation of cracker/splitter joint venture agreement
  • Refinery – Property loss, OSHA investigation, and personal injury claims arising out of Pennsylvania refinery fire and explosion that killed five contractors
  • Refineries – Multiple suits regarding alleged purchases of stolen hydrocarbons
  • Refineries – Litigation in Delaware Chancery Court over gas-to-fuels technology
  • Refinery and petrochemical defendants – Defense of thousands of asbestos lawsuits in Texas
  • Refineries – Counseling, negotiations over EPCM and other contracts
  • Petrochemical – Dispute over accuracy of meter on pipeline
  • Refinery – Defense of force majeure claims as a result of fire
  • Refinery – Defense of railcar corrosion claims

Oilfield Service

  • Drilling contractor – Investigation and litigation over fracking accident causing property loss
  • Texas frac sand manufacturer – Defended against trespass claims in district court
  • Michigan frac sand manufacturer – Breach of contract case before AAA
  • Oil rig manufacturer – Wrongful death defense relating to oil field accidents
  • Steel pipe manufacturer – Prosecution of claim against customer who failed to pay for steel pipe due to force majeure allegations

Off-Shore Oil and Gas

  • Pref right disputes in Gulf of Mexico transactions
  • Dispute over decommissioning off-shore oil wells and platform in Gulf of Mexico
  • Analysis and negotiations over indemnity and insurance provisions concerning billion dollar offshore Gulf of Mexico production platform
  • Negotiations and analysis of vendor contracts for major Gulf of Mexico construction contracts
  • Multiple lawsuits and arbitrations over cost sharing provisions in JOA for massive offshore oil storage platform
  • Analysis and report on liability issues arising out of a pipeline leak in the Gulf of Mexico

Energy Trading

  • Crude oil traders – analysis of force majeure and other issues relating to negative prices arising from COVID -19
  • Crude oil traders – Defended against $300 million in claims arising out of purchases of allegedly stolen national gas condensate
  • Gas trader – Assisted in defense of various claims under NAESB contracts
  • LNG Shipper – Defense of LNG charges in London Court of International Arbitration proceeding
  • Crude oil traders – analysis of various claims and defenses relating to negative pricing of crude oil during April 2020

LNG

  • Arbitration involving dispute between shipper and transporter over whether one party had to pay for costs of cross through Panama canal
  • Analysis of dispute relating to efficient breach of LNG contract in the event of a protracted force majeure event
  • Arbitration over whether construction of LNG facility had been completed for purposes of triggering PSA obligations for LNG
  • LNG Customer – dispute over whether COD has been achieved under a SPA with LNG operator

Representative Reported Cases

  • Adams v. Murphy Oil, 497 S.W.2d 510 (Tex. App—San Antonio 2016; affirming that operator had no obligation to drill an offset horizontal well
  • GC Development v. Zayas, Civ. Action No. B-15-129 (S.D. Tex. 2017); affirming award of legal fees on breach of contract claim
  • Mayo Foundation v. Courson Oil & Gas, Inc., – S.W.3d –, No. 07-16-00022-CV, 2016 WL 5874962 (Tex. App., Oct. 7, 2016); affirming motion for summary judgment of construction on continuous drilling and retained acreage clauses in oil and gas lease
  • Cerny v. Marathon Oil Corp. Cerny v. Marathon Oil Corp., 480 S.W.3d 612, 614-25 (Tex. App.–San Antonio 2015, pet. filed); upheld lower court decision dismissing a family's nuisance and negligence claims against two oil companies for alleged health and property damage stemming from hydraulic fracturing operations near their home
  • Pemex Exploracion y Produccion v. BASF Corp., 2014 WL 1877656 (S.D. Tex. 2014); dismissal of claims for conversion involving allegedly stolen hydrocarbons
  • Ladd v. Silver Star I Power Partners, 2013 WL 3377290 (Tex. App.—Eastland 2013, writ denied); dismissal of windfarm nuisance claim
  • GRT, Inc. v. Marathon GTF Tech., Ltd., 2012 WL 2356489 (Del. Chancery Ct. 2012) (first opinion); dismissal of construction claims involving gas-to fuels refinery construction project
  • GRT, Inc. v. Marathon GTF Technology, Ltd., 2011 WL 2682898 (Del. Chancery Ct. 2012); partial dismissal of construction claims involving gas-to-fuels refinery
  • Pemex Exploracion y Produccion v. BASF Corp., 2011 WL 9523407 (S.D. Tex. 2011); partial dismissal of conversion claims involving allegedly stolen hydrocarbons
  • Coastal Habitat Alliance v. Patterson, 601 F. Supp. 2d 868 (W.D. Tex. 2008); dismissal of suit against coastal windfarm under the Coastal Zone Management Act
  • In re City of Wharton, 2005 WL 3214798 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2005); dismissal of gas utility franchise fee suit
  • Houston Lighting & Power Co. v. Auchan USA, Inc., 995 S.W.2d 668 (Tex. 1999); leading Texas case on validity of utility tariff limitation of liability provision
  • Reed vs. Prudential Sec. Inc., 875 F.Supp. 1285 (S.D. Tex. 1995); limitations as to 10b-5 securities claim
  • McIntire v. Rollins, Inc., 888 F.Supp. 68 (S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division 1995); dismissal of environmental claim against employee based on fraudulent joinder

Awards & Community

Recipient, HBF James B. Sales Pro Bono Leadership Award, 2022

President, Houston Bar Association, 2020-2021

Recipient, ADL Karen Susman Jurisprudence Award, 2020

Recipient, Leon Jaworski Award, presented by the Houston Bar Association Auxiliary, 2015

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America, 2022-2024 (in areas of Energy Regulatory Law and Oil and Gas Law)

Recognized in Chambers USA, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, Rated "Top Ranked" and "Band 1" Nationally for Oil and Gas Litigation, 2020-2023

Recognized by Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters) as "Top Attorneys in Business Litigation,” 2008-2011; "Top Rated Energy and Natural Resources Attorney" in Houston, Texas, 2006-2012, 2016-2021, 2023; Selected as "Rising Star," 2004

Recognized as "Hall of Fame" by The Legal 500 U.S., 2023

Recognized as a "Leading Lawyer," Nationally, by The Legal 500 U.S., 2020, 2021 & 2022

Benchmark Litigation, Litigation Star for Texas, United States in Commercial Litigation, 2023

Lawdragon, 500 Leading U.S. Energy Lawyers, 2023, 2024

Recognized as "Best in Houston" by Houston Business Journal's Who's Who in Energy, 2013

Recognized as a "Trailblazer" for Energy/Environmental Litigation by The National Law Journal, 2015

Recipient, President's Award, presented by Houston Young Lawyers Association, 2012

Co-Chair, Baker Institute Center for Energy Studies Annual Summit, 2019

Member, Texas State Library and Archives Commission Local Government Records Storage Task Force, 2012

Advisory Council, Houston History Alliance, 2015-2019

Recipient, Judge Thomas Gibbs Gee Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service, 2009

Baker Botts Pro Bono Champion 2018-2023

Recipient, Baker Botts Pro Bono Champion, 2018-2013 (6 consecutive years)

54th Annual Five Outstanding Young Texans Award, August 2003, presented by the Texas Jaycees

Five Outstanding Young Houstonians Awards, May 2003, presented by the Houston Junior Chamber of Commerce

Woodrow B. Seals Outstanding Young Lawyer of Houston Award, May 2000, presented by the Houston Young Lawyers Association

Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas Award, 1999 to 2000, presented by the Texas Young Lawyers Association 

Elected Chancellor for the United Methodist Church, Texas Annual Conference 2023-present

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