Fielding B. “Tres” Cochran III, ’75, receives Ernest E. Smith Lifetime Achievement Award

The Texas Journal of Oil, Gas & Energy Law has awarded the 2010 Ernest E. Smith Lifetime Achievement Award to Fielding B. “Tres” Cochran III, ’75. Cochran received the award on January 20, 2011 at the sixth annual Texas Journal of Oil, Gas & Energy Law Banquet.

The award recognizes Cochran’s work for over thirty-five years on mergers and acquisitions, project development, finance, commodity trading and hedging, and other transactions in the energy industry. During his career he has worked on a wide range of energy transactions, including transactions in oil and gas, coal, lignite, synthetic fuel produced from coal, carbon capture and storage, wind power, solar power, geothermal power, and bioconversion of coal to methane. 

Ernest E. Smith Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Fielding B. “Tres” Cochran III, ’75, (center) stands with Texas Journal of Oil, Gas & Energy Law Editor in Chief Chad Smith, left, and Managing Editor David Leonard, right, at the journal’s January 20, 2011, banquet.

Cochran is a partner at Vinson & Elkins in Houston. In the early 1990s he was a significant contributor in the development of a volumetric production payment that could easily be hedged in the commodity derivatives markets that were beginning to develop at that time. This transaction structure has been widely adopted and continues to be an important means for financial institutions to invest in oil and gas properties.

The Ernest E. Smith Lifetime Achievement Award honors practitioners who have participated in the advancement of natural resources law, policy, or scholarship. The award is named after Professor Ernest E. Smith, the Rex G. Baker Centennial Chair in Natural Resources Law at the Law School. Considered the preeminent specialist in oil, gas, and energy law, Smith cowrote the leading casebook in the field, Oil and Gas Law, as well as leading treatise Texas Law of Oil and Gas. He created the first wind-power law class to be taught at an American law school. He also teaches property law. Smith recently received the Massey Teaching Excellence Award, which is given to a law professor who “epitomizes the School’s priority of providing the highest quality of teaching to its students.” Smith also serves as a faculty advisor to the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law.

The sixth recipient of the Ernest E. Smith Lifetime Achievement Award, Cochran joins Timothy Unger, ’74, partner at Andrews Kurth LLP; Cotton Bledsoe Tighe & Dawson Founding Partner Robert Bledsoe, ’55; former Devon Energy General Counsel Duke Ligon, ’69; Exxon General Counsel C. Kenneth Roberts, ’51; and the late Frank Douglass, founding partner of Scott, Douglass & McConnico, in receiving this honor at the Journal’s annual banquet.

The Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law is the only entirely student-run energy publication in the country and one of the largest publications at the University of Texas School of Law.  In addition to publishing articles on oil, gas, and energy topics twice a year, the Journal hosts a two-day continuing legal education symposium in conjunction with its banquet. This year’s symposium took place on January 20–21, 2011, at University of Texas at Austin’s AT&T Conference Center. The Symposium featured a wide range of energy-related topics from subsurface trespass to solar development, water issues in oil and gas development to unconventional resource plays, and crisis response in the energy field to recent developments in the ERCOT market.

Contact: Kirston Fortune, UT Law Communications Office, 512-471-7330, or

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