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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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Finders Keepers?: How the Law of Capture Shaped the World Oil Industry

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ISBN13: 9781933115832
Published: August 2010
Publisher: Resources for the Future Press
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Paperback
Price: £36.99

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Since the beginnings of the oil industry, production activity has been governed by the 'law of capture,' dictating that one owns the oil recovered from one's property even if it has migrated from under neighboring land. This 'finders keepers' principle has been excoriated by foreign critics as a 'law of the jungle' and identified by American commentators as the root cause of the enormous waste of oil and gas resulting from US production methods in the first half of the twentieth century. Yet while in almost every other country the law of capture is today of marginal significance, it continues in full vigour in the United States, with potentially wasteful results. In this richly documented account, Terence Daintith adopts a historical and comparative perspective to show how legal rules, technical knowledge (or the lack of it) and political ideas combined to shape attitudes and behavior in the business of oil production, leading to the original adoption of the law of capture, its consolidation in the United States, and its marginalization elsewhere.

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Other Jurisdictions , USA
Preface and Acknowledgments

Part I: The Beginnings of the Rule of Capture in the United States
1. Naming and Blaming
2. The Leading Cases and their Legal Background
3. Practice and Belief in the Early Petroleum Industry

Part II: Alternatives and Parallels
4. The Mineral Water Industry in France: Protection and Competition
5. Asphalt in Trinidad: Digging your Neighbour's Pitch
6. America's Early Oil Rivals: Petroleum and Property Rights in Galicia, Romania and Russia

Part III: Modified Capture: The United States in the 20th Century
7. Correlative Rights and the Beginnings of Conservation
8. Oil and Gas in the Public Lands
9. Conservation Regulation and the Institutionalization of Capture

Part IV: Evading Capture?
10. Securing Unified National Control of Petroleum Resources
11. Capture Revivified? Competitive Acreage Allocation by Governments
12. The Cross-Boundary Petroleum Deposit as a Federal and International Issue

Part V: Conclusion
13. The Least Worst Property Rule? References