A Large O&G Company Paid The Wrong Owners and Say They Are Not Responsible

My grandmother owned a lot in Brazos County with the mineral rights but was never informed from the oil companies, landmen, or owner about it existing. For ten years she was never contacted about it and then she sold her property with the rights (not knowing anything about the well) to a family that may not know about the well for the last 6 years. My mother bought the land next door from a “trust” but has the oil and gas rights, but those owners also never informed her of any well. She knows (has documentation) that A"large O&G" had information regarding her ownership 10 years ago but they did not contact her at that time to clear it up and paid the wrong owners royalties all that time. Finally they show up with a Ratification for Well number 1 (which she did not sign) and she has tried to get an attorney to go after the prior owners for criminal charges most likely fraud, and “large O&G” for what may apply along the lines of theft, fraud, conspiracy or assumption (whichever term applies in cases like this). She doesn’t have much money but with her, my grandmother, and probably many of her neighbors, could they form a class action for the negligence of the oil companies not performing some sort of due diligence? She was approached to sign lease for this new well, but she said that A “large O&G” told her they would not be paying her for the oil from before and they told my grandmother they didn’t owe her anything either. She was then told by some attorney that they should pay her from the time she owned it since she signed with them for the 2nd Well. What can she do or are there any lawyers interested in taking this on? I’m sure with penalties and interests, they could be reimbursed for their legal fees.

Dear Dana,

The whole issue is whether the lots are the drillsite or simply in an unit. Also, if there was an earlier lease on the more recent purchase, and that lease was pooled, the sale is not binding on the oil company until 30 days after they are furnished with certified copy of such transfer (on 99.99% of leases).

If the interest is non-drillsite, you are only due monies from and after date of such unit ratification or ratification of a lease which provides for pooling.