If You Only Have Surface Rights and No Mineral Rights — Some Issues for You
Call 800-929-1725. If you own only the surface rights for a tract of land and you don’t own the mineral rights, what’s the potential impact of oil or gas production from your land? If you’re thinking of buying surface rights to land, without the minerals, what should you understand before you buy? Attorney Ray Kerlick talks about these issues and related ones in this video.
This is a summary of the video about oil and gas issues for owners of only the surface rights of land in Texas.
Today I was hoping to talk with you a little bit about oil and gas production in Texas and specifically the surface damages and the use of your surface as a landowner in Texas. In Texas, oil and gas, and surface are two different interests potentially. Most of us are familiar with this idea that two different people may own the surface and then own the minerals or the oil and the gas.
Real briefly to address the issue as a surface owner, recognize that you as a surface owner who does not own minerals have limited rights. This is something that you as a potential buyer of a tract of land should be aware of. If you don’t have the executory rights to the minerals, meaning the right to sign the lease, you will not have any rights to determine what actually goes into the lease. So you’ll be at the beck and call of the oil and gas mineral owner.
That said even in those situations the oil and gas company is not entitled to damage your surface estate unreasonably. So things like spills, things like broken fences, cows or other crops that may be killed, livestock or crops that may be killed by activities out on the property. These are all items for which you would be entitled to petition and potentially sue the oil and gas company to recover your reasonable damages related to their usage of the oil and gas well.
Again, this is a very tricky subject and again one that almost inevitably you will need to speak with a lawyer about. If you find yourself in this situation, and again frankly even before buying the piece of property over which you’re not going to get minerals you ought to be discussing these issues with your counsel, with your lawyer to discuss, “What types of difficulties could I have 5, 10 years down the road when this property might get developed with oil and gas?”
In any event, we look forward to talking with anyone who may have questions about these items and we appreciate your time. Thanks.
The attorneys of Wadler, Perches, Hundl & Kerlick have many years of experience representing the rights of surface as well as mineral owners in issues related to oil and gas law. We meet clients at our offices in Wharton, El Campo and Richmond, Texas.