Theodore R. Borrego’s practice has concentrated on the oil and gas industry for over 35 years, however his connection with the industry goes back about 60 years.

A Lifetime in the Oil Patch

Theodore R. (Ted) Borrego has been practicing in the area of oil and gas law since 1974 when he began his career with Vinson & Elkins, but his family’s history in the oil patch go back to the middle 1920’s, and to an historic event in the industry. That event, the Mexican Expropriation of 1938, not only left an indelible mark on his father, but was also a turning point in the elder Borrego’s career, and indeed helped to shape the younger Borrego’s career.

Mr. Borrego’s father, Edward C. (Ed) Borrego, began his career in 1927 with the Huasteca Oil Company, a subsidiary of the Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon), in Tampico, Mexico. The elder Borrego was an assistant field superintendent when, on March 18, 1938, the Mexican Government, through its President, Lazaro Cardenas, expropriated the assets of seventeen foreign oil companies that had been doing business in the country. Ed Borrego was one of a few oil company employees that did not make it out in the rush to evacuate after the order from the government was issued. Ed was held by the Mexican government for a period of time before being allowed to make his way back to the United States. Being held at gunpoint, being locked behind bars, and then being escorted out of Mexico, gave the elder Borrego an abiding appreciation of the responsibilities of the petroleum industry on an international scale. After returning to the United States, Ed was sent to Venezuela by the Standard Oil Company. He was still in Venezuela when he volunteered to serve as a petroleum specialist during World War II.

Jerdez El-Abid ribbon cutting ceremony.

After serving in World War II and as an attaché to the United States Embassy in Rome, Ed Borrego remained in Italy to manage the restoration of the gas fields of northern Italy, as president of the Standard Oil’s subsidiary. It was while Ed Borrego was located in northern Italy that Ted Borrego “began” his oil career in 1947.

The elder Borrego then worked in Peru, Colombia and Libya, always with family in tow. Edward C. Borrego was instrumental in the first exploration ventures in Libya, and was the general manager of the Libyan American Oil Company, which drilled the first well in Libya. Beginning at age four, the younger Borrego accompanied his father to the field camps, and began the first of his own personal connections to the oil patch.

After graduating from Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts in 1964, Ted Borrego worked for a geophysical company in Western Oklahoma, and later graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1968. Mr. Borrego then served with the United States Marine Corps, and then really started to follow in his father’s footsteps when he became a field office superintendent with Williams Brothers in Ecuador and Brazil. Ted Borrego returned to the United States to enter the University of Oklahoma’s College of Law, where he graduated in 1974, having been appointed to the Law Review.

Libya Jerdez El-Abid.

His legal career began with Vinson & Elkins in 1974, where he spent five years, concentrating principally in the area of oil and gas law. After leaving Vinson & Elkins, Mr. Borrego practiced in Wichita Falls with the firm of Sherrill & Pace, and later, with Johnson & Swanson in Dallas. While at Johnson & Swanson, the firm grew from 125 lawyers in a single city to over 350 lawyers in multiple locations (and, in the process, changing its name to Johnson & Gibbs). Mr. Borrego was in charge of the oil and gas practice of the firm, and expanded it with the firm’s growth He also served on the Management Committee and the Technology Committee, where, along with other lawyers, he oversaw the implementation of a large scale network.

In 1993, Mr. Borrego decided that the administrative burdens of overseeing a department and management were interfering with his desire to practice law, so he left Johnson & Swanson (Johnson & Gibbs). Since 1993, other than a short period of time spent as in house counsel with a major independent, he has essentially been a solo practitioner.

Ted Borrego’s practice has been concentrated in the transactional aspects of oil and gas exploration and production. While he did not have to move his family to various locations around the world as his father did, he has been involved in transactions in all producing states in the US , and over 60 foreign countries ranging from Australia to the United Kingdom and Argentina to Canada. He advised the State of Texas in its winning presentation for the Super Collider in regard to the ownership of subsurface minerals. Mr. Borrego has also advised other state bureaus and agencies in regard to oil, gas and mineral ownership and exploration matters. He has advised drafting committees of the American Association of Petroleum Landmen in the revisions of the standard joint operating agreement which is in wide use throughout the United States.

Esso on the streets of Libya.

His clients have included oil and gas companies, individual mineral and royalty owners, financial and charitable institutions and governmental agencies. Mr. Borrego does not provide a list of clients, on the grounds of client confidentiality. Mr. Borrego is fluent in Spanish and has a working use of Portuguese and Italian.


Ted Borrego was selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America in 1988, and has been listed in Best Lawyers in America every year since then, as a practitioner in the area of Natural Resources Law. In 2003, the first year that Texas Monthly and Law and Politics magazine published their list of Texas’ Superlawyers, Mr. Borrego was selected by his peers as a Texas Superlawyer in the area of oil and gas law, and has been selected every year since then. He has also been listed as one of Houston’s Best Lawyers since 2004. Mr. Borrego is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell and is licensed to practice law in both Texas and Oklahoma.

Mr. Borrego also teaches Advanced Oil and Gas Contracts at the University of Houston’s College of Law. He has authored Chapter 20, “Oil and Gas Contracts,” in Mathew Bender’s Energy Law and Transactions treatise, and has published articles in various journals. Mr. Borrego has spoken at a number of institutes, including oil and gas institutes offered by the University of Houston, South Texas College of Law, the Dallas Bar Association, and other petroleum industry groups.