I own the surface rights and some mineral interests in a 160 acres in Kingfisher County, Oklahoma. I have had an oil company approach me to sign a 3-D seismic survey with them. They are offer $10.00 per acre. I currently lease the surface of my property to a tenant for farming and running a few head of cattle. He has planted a very expensive crop of alfalfa on part of the land (roundup ready alfalfa). I also have a house, barn, corral, and water well on this property as well. In my discussion with the oil company, I expressed my concerns that the $10/acre would not be enough to cover any expenses in case of damage regarding my water well or the alfalfa crop that is in existence. We discussed having the surveying done as "walk on only" where the alfalfa was but the oil company doesn't seem to want to agree on this. I asked them if they would increase the per acre price and they said no to that. Can I decline their request and keep them off of my property? The above issues only address factors involved for the surface rights. As a mineral holder the property too, I would rather they not access our oil or gas at this particular time as oil and gas prices are at such a low price now - I would rather they wait a few years for prices to come back up before removing our resources. I believe if they found oil in our property they would start exploration on it - this company just drilled a horizontal well on the section south of me. I would appreciate any suggestions on how to deal with this situation. The land man who is trying to get me to sign the permit said if I don't sign they will find another way to access our property and that the landowner always loses. I certainly do not want to get involved in any lawsuits. I would just like to know what options may be available to me - this oil company seems very aggressive and unwilling to cooperate with our wishes. Please help!!!!
First, tell the landman that you will not be bullied. Get the name and phone number of the president of the geophysical company and tell him you would like to cooperate but are already under a surface lease contract and may not be able to allow access unilaterally. Complain about the bullying. Get the name of the company paying for the seismic survey.
Ask your surface lessee if he would join you in an agreement and administer it for you for half the payment. With his help determine the proper fee for crop damage and location of access, timing, notification responsibility, and make a fair demand for the fee and liability acceptance to head of the seismic company as a take it or leave it. It is your land after all.
Be fair, as you want the seismic survey done. Most importantly, 1) get your lessee to sign off, and2) BE CAREFUL NOT TO OBLIGATE YOUR MINERALS IN AN AGREEMENT. You have something valuable to them so build the cost of an agreement review by your lawyer into the counter offer.
Everybody should be happy with the outcome except the bully.
Linda and Gary:
After all this work has been done, there is one more suggestion or opinion and that is never to talk to or do business with the individual that tried to play hard ball. Those kinds of people need to be weeded out of the industry. If they want to do the seismic, they will find another person to be the middle man.
It's your land, your minerals. If you know how to say "No" and mean it, then say "No" to these low-life scum bags who are trying to intimidate and bully you. Then, tell the landman if they access your property you will call the law on their trespassing.
Don't waste anymore of your time. If you don't want them bothering you, then tell these bullies to stop bothering you and don't come back. This is the only kind of talk they understand!
It's your call! Not theirs!
I definitely like your spirit and you can be on my team anytime!
Thank you Gary for your advice and words of wisdom. I think you would be a great mediator! I really do appreciate your taking time to explain some options to me. I am learning a lot through this process and every suggestion is taken into consideration. Thank you again!!!
Thank you Pat. I think I was intimated by them. I plan on putting some no trespassing signs on my property. I had a sick feeling in my stomach about this whole ordeal so I guess I should listen to my instincts. Perhaps a more reputable company will contact me in the future. I am learning a lot throughout this process - your words have really inspired me!!! Thanks for taking the time to reply!
Thank Bigfoot! I agree! I am using Gary and Pat's advice - I will not be bullied and I can try and do business directly with the Seismic Company or if that doesn't work - just say no!!!! Thanks for your comments!!!!