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Ralph Cantafio
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Ralph Cantafio

With over 30 years of legal experience, including acting as lead counsel in more than 100 jury trials, Ralph’s practice focuses on Oil and Gas Law as well as a wide scope of commercial transactions and litigations. Mr. Cantafio is licensed to practice in the state courts of Alaska, Colorado, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming, as well as a host of U.S. District Courts, the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Court of Claims, the 3rd and 10th Circuit Courts of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.

Not only is Ralph a partner of Cantafio & Song PLLC with offices throughout Colorado, but he is also Lecturer (Adjunct Professor) teaching in the Global Energy Management Program educating graduate students at the University of Colorado, Denver. Ralph teaches Environmental, Regulatory, Legal, and Political Environment in the Energy Industry as well as Land Use and Energy Contracts.

Mr. Cantafio has also lectured foreign professionals, primarily from Nigeria and China, focusing on international oil and gas law, as well as international contracts and drafting of the same.

His education includes not only a Juris Doctorate from the University of Colorado School of Law, but a Master of Science in Mineral Economics from the prestigious Colorado School of Mines and a Master of Science in Global Energy Management from the University of Colorado-Denver, where he now teaches.

With two professional oil and gas certificates in Petroleum Land Management and Energy Finance from the University of Denver, numerous professional affiliations, publications as well as numerous industry presentations, Ralph’s knowledge of the oil and gas industry is extensive.

Ralph also lectures as to a wide breadth of issues concerning commercial transactions and litigation as well as contributes articles regularly to legal journals as well as other trade periodicals. He has occasionally written for the Texas A&M Law Journal. 

Ralph is a member of the Judicial Performance Committee for the 14th Judicial District having been nominated by the Chief Judge of the 14th Judicial District and approved by the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. Mr. Cantafio is also one of 139 attorneys, also approved by the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, acting on the Colorado Supreme Court Hearing Board responsible for adjudicating cases involving claims of ethical violations by Colorado Attorneys.

Mr. Cantafio served as the Municipal Judge of Oak Creek, Colorado from 2008 through 2017 as well as a Board of Director Member of the Old Town Hot Springs (formerly the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Center) also from 2008 through 2017.

  • Steamboat Springs RE-2 Technology Commission and Fund Board

  • Board of Directors Member of Old Town Hot Springs

  • Blue Halterman Scholarship Fund

  • Corporate Sponsor for Bust of Steamboat

  • Yampa Valley Sustainability Council

  • Steamboat Dance Theatre

  • Steamboat Symphony Orchestra

Recent Publications

  • Shareholder Feldmann Nagel Cantafio & Song PLLC - December 2001- Present
  • Municipal Judge Town of Oak Creek, CO - June 2008 - February 2017
  • Adjunct Professor Western State Colorado University - January 2015 - January 2017
  • Adjunct Professor Colorado Mountain College - January 2014 - December 2016
  • Lecturer University of Colorado - July 2015 - Present
  • Lecturer Electric Utility Consultants, Inc. - October 2017 - Present
  • Lecturer Corporate Partners Solutions July 2014 - Present
  • Lecturer Petromentor International Educators - July 2014 - Present
  • Partner Cantafio and Hardy-Moore - December 1992 - December 2001.
  • Attorney McGill Professional Law Corporation - April 1986 - November 1992
  • Staff Attorney Central Pennsylvania Legal Services - May 1985 - April 1986

  • University of Colorado - Degree: Master of Science in Global Energy Management Denver, Colorado (2013)
  • Colorado School of Mines - Degree: Master of Science in Mineral Economics Colorado (1992)
  • University of Colorado School of Law - Degree: Juris Doctorate Colorado ( 1994)
  • University of Nevada - Degree: Bachelor of Arts in History Las Vegas (1981)
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District and Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Utah
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming
  • U.S. Claims Court
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Fifth Circuit and Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

  • American Association of Professional Landmen (“AAPL”)
  • Denver Association of Lease and Title Analysts (“DALTA”)
  • Denver Association of Professional Landmen (“DAPL”)
  • Denver Petroleum Club (“DPC”)
  • Energy and Mineral Law Foundation (“EMLF”)
  • Energy Bar Association (“EBA”)
  • Institute for Energy Law (“IEL”)
  • National Association of Lease & Title Analysts (“NALTA”)
  • National Association of Royalty Owners (“NARO”)
  • Petroleum Association of Wyoming (“PAW”)
  • Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (“RMMLF”)
  • Independent Petroleum Association of America (“IPAA”)
  • Surface Use Agreement: Representation of the Surface Owner. May 4, 2005
  • Understanding, Negotiating and Implementing A Surface Use Agreement.
    Sept. 17, 2005
  • Representing the Surface Owner. Oct. 22, 2005
  • Leasing, Top Leasing, and Oil and Gas Production on Your Land. June 8, 2006
  • Understanding the Oil & Gas Lease and Factors Affecting Termination of the Oil and Gas Lease Resulting in Cancellation. (National Association of Royalty Owners).
    Sept. 8, 2006
  • Oil and Gas Landowner Issues. (Presented to Montana State University). Dec. 20, 2006
  • Water Rights: What Every Realtor Should Know. (Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors).
    Jan. 24, 2008
  • Testimony Before the Colorado House of Representatives Regarding House Bill 09-1194.
    Feb. 18, 2008
  • Conservation Easements & Land Trusts for Realtors. (Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors). Feb. 21, 2008
  • What Every Realtor Should Know About Foreclosure. (Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors). Nov. 3, 2009
  • 2009 Rule Modification/Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission. Apr. 13, 2009
  • Statute of Limitations & Deadlines to Contest Underpayment of Royalties.
    Sept. 12, 2009
  • Skier & Boarder Liability 101. Mar. 2010
  • Bankruptcy - It’s Not a Dirty Word. Apr. 2010
  • Understanding & Negotiating the Oil & Gas Lease. Apr. 4, 2011
  • Drafting and Understanding the Pugh Clause. Apr. 4, 2011
  • Interstate Pipelines: Questions & Answers. Apr. 4, 2011
  • Understanding the American Natural Gas Boom - A Short Summary. July 19, 2011
  • A Common Sense Guide to a Better Understanding of the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing. Mar. 16, 2012
  • Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission New Rule 205A – Hydraulic Fracturing Chemical Disclosure. Mar. 22, 2012
  • “Unless” Provisions Oil and Gas Leases Strictly Construed – A Reminder from the Supreme Court of North Dakota. July 18, 2012
  • The Battle to Determine the Right to Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing: The Preemption Doctrine. (Presentation to the Denver Petroleum Club) Jan. 10, 2013
  • Efficient Use of Arbitration: Drafting of Arbitration Clauses. May 9, 2013
  • Overview of Permitting of Oil and Gas Wells in Colorado: Understanding the Doctrine of Preemption and the Authority of “Home Rule” Municipalities.
    (Presentation before the Colorado County Attorneys Annual Conference). June 6, 2013 
  • Sufficiency in Land Description in Oil & Gas Leases. June 3, 2013
  • ROAR (Periodical of the National Association of Royalty Owners): A Discussion of Legal Framework to Regulate Fracking: Federal, State, and Local Concerns. June 2013
  • Efficient Use of Arbitration: Drafting of Arbitration Clauses (Published Utah Bar Journal). July/Aug. 2013
  • Successful Development of Renewable Energy Projects: Navigating the cloud of Bureaucracy. Presentation to the Colorado Environmental Management Society (“CEMS”). Oct. 2013
  • Denver Petroleum Club - Keynote Breakfast Speaker: The Battle to Determine the Right to Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing (“Fracking”): The Preemption Doctrine. Jan. 10, 2014
  • Pipeline Leadership Conference, University of Denver, Participated as a Panel Member in the Land Nov. 3-4, 2015
    Management and Acquisition Panel.
  • Pipeline Leadership Conference, University of Denver. Presented as to Pipeline Permitting and Dakota Access Pipeline Controversy. Nov. 1-2, 2016
  • A Primer on Arbitration Preparation (Utah Bar Journal). Sept. 2017
  • National Pipeline Leadership Conference, Dallas, Texas. Presented as to Stakeholder Rights and New Approaches to Environmental Group Intransigence Nov. 2017
  • Pipeline and Gas Journal, Dakota Access Pipeline – Lessons for the Pipeline Industry, Vol. 245, No. 1. Jan 2018
  • Pipeline Energy Expo, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Presented: Dakota Access Pipeline – Harbinger of Things to Come. Apr. 2018
  • Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, Denver, Co. Presented: Oil and Gas Law for Geologists. Apr. 2018
  • EUCI, Denver, Co. Presented: Joint Operating Agreements (JOAs) – Update to the Model Form – A Review of the New AAPL Form 610 – 2015 Model. Apr. 2018
  • Damage Protection Professionals Journal: Recent Legislative Responses to Dakota Access Pipeline and The Critical Infrastructure Control Act co-authored with Heather Johnson. Aug. 2018
  • North American Oil and Gas Pipelines: Dakota Access Pipeline. the Critical Infrastructure Control Act and Recent Legislative Responses, co-authored with Heather Johnson. Aug. 2018
  • “Legal Implications of Bell v. Land Title”, Texas A&M Journal of Property Law, Survey on Oil and Gas, Volume 5, 2018-9. Jan 2019
  • COPAS, Presented: Understanding the Impacts and Implications of Senate Bill 181.
    Mar 26, 2019
  • Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, Denver, Co. Presented: Oil and Gas Law for Geologists. April 8 – 9, 2019
  • COPAS, Presented: Cause and Effect – Senate Bill 181 and the Bigger Picture
    May 21, 2019
  • EUCI, Denver, Co. Presented: The Appraisal and Valuation of Mineral Interests
    June 19 – 20, 2019
  • ”Solving the Interconnection Problem”, Texas A&M Journal of Property Law, Volume 6,
    2020-2021 Jan 2021

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