I have approximately 3 undivided nma in the NE/4 of Section 9, Block 32, T1S Howard County, Texas. I am a novice to this whole oil and gas song and dance. With that being said my minerals are unleased and according to my research of the Texas Railroad commission the wells in my section have been producing for a while now. I have made numerous attempts to call the operator to get leased but keep getting the run around. Am I entitled to my share of the production in the past or since I haven’t signed the lease I am only entitled to my share once I sign?
Were you approached to lease but could not come to terms on lease language, bonus, etc? This pdf may help answer some of your questions.
No we never negotiated anything. I was told by the landman that they were reviewing the in-house title and would be in touch. They’ve said that same thing for about 4 months now.
Welcome to the Forum, G William!
This situation you described is certainly frustrating. There may be a number of reasons why this is happening. Your post did not indicate which operator you are dealing with, but some of the larger operators just always seem to be hard to get hold of, or at least get hold of someone who can assist you. Secondly, the covid virus situation means that they are probably working short-staffed or from home and are not able to respond as readily. A third possible scenario is that there may be problems with the title to your mineral interests and situations like these always seem to go to the bottom of the stack of the things the operator’s land department is working on.
I can’t give you specific advice without knowing much more about the details of your situation, however, I can offer some general thoughts. For example, you may want to consider taking a look at your mineral title. Do you have a deed or other legally cognizable document that is filed in the county deed records that conveys title to these mineral interests to you? Keep in mind that the fact that you may be an heir to someone that owned the mineral interests is usually it’snot enough. In Texas, a mineral owner hopefully has a will, that will is probated, an executor is appointed by the probate court and the executor prepares and files a deed in the county deed records from the estate to the beneficiaries for the mineral interests. Sometimes one or more of these steps hasn’t happened. However, it is usually a curable situation. If the executor is still alive, they can prepare and file a mineral deed even if the estate has been closed. If there is no will or the will hasn’t been probated and the time for probating the will has run out, Texas law may still provide additional mechanisms, such as an affidavit of heirship or filing a will as a muniment of title, that will serve to vest title in the heirs.
Once you’re confident that your mineral title is properly reflected in the deed records, you may want to send a certified letter, with a copy of the deed or other document that shows your title, to the oil company and formally request that an oil and gas lease be sent to you for review. If you still don’t get a response, you may need to bring a claim under the Texas Mineral Interest Pooling Act to force the operator to make you part of the pooling unit. Don’t wait too long to take action because if royalties are being paid to the wrong person, that person may be able to acquire title to your mineral interests through adverse possession.
If your mineral interest ownership shows up properly in the deed records, in many cases the operator may be liable to you for up to four years of past royalties (the four year statute of limitations usually applies). However, if your ownership is not properly documented in the deed records, you will usually only be able to get royalties from the date of your lease forward. Again, each case is judged on its specific facts and you will be best served by seeking the advice of your attorney on these points.
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