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The complexities surrounding mineral rights ownership

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | Oil And Gas |

In Texas’ vast landscape, mineral rights ownership is a crucial aspect of property rights that carries significant implications for landowners, oil and gas developers and industry stakeholders.

Anyone who owns mineral rights or is considering leasing them to developers must understand the key considerations and challenges of this vital aspect of property law.

Understanding mineral rights in Texas

Mineral rights refer to the legal ownership of subsurface resources such as oil, gas, minerals and other valuable substances found beneath the land’s surface. In Texas, mineral rights are often severed from surface rights, creating a unique property ownership structure in which landowners may not own the minerals beneath their property. 

For developers leasing the mineral rights from the owner, oil and gas lease agreements outline the terms, conditions, and rights associated with mineral exploration and production activities, including lease bonuses, royalty rates, drilling obligations and termination provisions that govern the relationship between mineral owners and lessees.

In the event that surface ownership and mineral ownership are severed, mineral developers often have surface use agreements that establish guidelines for them to access and utilize surface lands for exploration and production activities, addressing issues such as surface damage, environmental impact and compensation for land use. However, in Texas the mineral estate is the dominant estate and has the right to use the surface in order to develop and produce the minerals.

Navigating the complexities of mineral rights ownership in Texas presents various challenges and considerations for property owners and developers, including:

  • Using due diligence and title examination to ensure clear ownership and avoid disputes
  • Compliance with state regulations, environmental laws and permitting requirements to mitigate risks, protect land resources and maintain operational integrity in mineral development activities.
  • The economic viability of mineral development projects and decisions related to exploration, production and asset valuation.

Mineral rights in Texas are complex, including legal doctrines, property rights structure and industry practices. It’s crucial to work with someone who understands the various intricacies surrounding mineral rights ownership or leasing.


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