Houston Mineral Rights Attorneys
Protecting Property Owners in Texas & Nationwide
Oil and gas mineral rights are the rights to remove oil or gas that may be contained under a person's land. In jurisdictions that support such rights they may be separate from other rights to the land. Oil and gas mineral rights entitle a person or company to explore and produce the oil and gas found below the surface of a tract of land. The owner of oil and gas mineral rights can sell, lease, gift or bequest them to others. It is possible to sell or lease rights to the oil and gas beneath a property and retain rights to the surface.
An agreement to convey mineral rights is made between the landowner and company. It is also possible to lease the rights to a specific geologic unit (such as the Barnett Shale) or sell the rights to a specific commodity. When conveying oil and gas mineral rights, a landowner usually desires to sell or lease rights to the underground resources but retain possession and control of the surface. An oil and gas company wants to extract the oil and gas but doesn't want to pay an additional price to acquire the property. In many instances, the surface owner doesn't want to part with the land. The landowner retains the rights to the surface, and the oil and gas company acquires rights to the subsurface.
The U.S. is one of only nations to allow individual citizens to control and profit from the mineral riches underneath their land. Unfortunately, that sort of opportunity comes at a price—particularly when unethical and improper extraction practices leave properties poisoned or unusable.
Oil & Gas Mineral Rights Transactions
Transactions involving oil and gas mineral rights can be nuanced and complex. When oil and gas mineral rights are purchased or leased, removal of the oil and gas resources is usually deferred. An oil and gas company needs time to acquire a drilling permit and to schedule its equipment and workforce to begin developing the field. On the other hand, a landowner's interests in the mineral rights may not be tied up indefinitely. Consequently, oil and gas companies have implied obligations including a duty to develop the lease, a duty to protect against drainage of the reservoir from neighboring tracts, and a duty to market the resources extracted and pay due royalties.
Mineral Rights FAQ
"Who Is Responsible for Making Sure My Land Isn't Damaged by Drilling?"
In cases where your mineral rights are leased to a company that isn't drilling horizontally, they'll need to use your land to place the drilling rig, build outdoor storage and containment pods, ensure proper water treatment, and develop roads and fences. All this creates noise, light, and air pollution to a degree—but ensuring your land remains uncontaminated will ultimately rely on the extraction company's practices. Before leasing your land, make sure your lawyer includes clauses about responsibility for the groundwater and the value of the property. Today, countless families are reeling from when an extraction company left their land 30, 40, or even 50 percent less valuable. Holding the oil and gas industry accountable for that sort of damage is far easier when your contract already accounts for it.
How Long Until Mineral Rights Revert to the Owner?
It depends on the lease agreement, so it can range from two years to a decade. There are other variables that change based on the lease, the region, and the fine print of the contract. We recommend speaking with a mineral rights attorney to determine the specifics of your agreement and how you can enforce your mineral rights.
Did the Mineral Rights Automatically Go to Me When I Bought the Land?
Not necessarily. The owner of a piece of property can sell the land to one buyer and sell the mineral rights to another party. They can even sell a buyer the land while keeping the mineral rights for themselves. If you retain the land and the mineral rights, you likewise have the ability to sell the mineral rights without selling your land.
If your land was damaged as a result of a neighbor or a family member leasing out your mineral rights, you have the right to make the company answer for it. Our firm has helped dozens of families recover the lost value of their land from poor extraction practices.
Billions Won for Individuals in America's Oil Basins
Arnold & Itkin is committed to protecting homeowners and landlords from the oil and gas industry. Our work has helped families recover the money they lose from contaminated water, polluted land, and abandoned equipment. Their losses put their family's future at risk, but holding the extraction companies accountable allowed them to build a better future—either by restoring their land as much as possible, or by giving them a chance to sell their land at a loss and move somewhere else. That's what our firm fights for: second chances at a better future.
Talk to a Houston Oil & Gas Lawyer Today: (888) 493-1629
If you have questions about mineral rights and transactions such as oil and gas leases, you should consult an experienced business litigation attorney. An oil and gas lawyer at Arnold & Itkin LLP can help you understand the nuances of mineral rights and associated oil and gas leases.
Oil and gas giants might have seemingly limitless resources, but we won't be outworked. Contact Arnold & Itkin for the dedicated counsel you need: (888) 493-1629.