Can a co-tenant lease 100% of our acreage without my knowledge?

#1

HI Everyone. I’m new to the site. I’m a third generation owner, my family owns 1/5 undivided interest of land in Nolan County, Texas. In 2012 all five families were mailed a lease agreement. Strangely, consenting leases that were signed and mailed to the broker were immediately returned to the consenting families with a note saying it was too late to be included in that agreement. We all thought that was strange but let it go. I have recently obtained a copy of the 2012 recorded lease. One family member (of the five families) entered into the lease agreement. The lease included the entire acreage. The lease did not say he was leasing his 1/5 interest in 350 acres. However, the lease did specify his royalty interest at 20%.
So here is my question. Can a 1/5 undivided interest owner lease the oil/mineral rights to the entire tract of land, or should he have leased his rightful 1/5 rights to the land/minerals?
Thanks so much

#2

A co-tenant can only lease their fractional interest, it would not be binding upon the others even if the lease does not specify his interest. This is not an unusual circumstance. I’m speaking as an Oklahoma attorney but I bet a dollar to a donuts that the same result in Texas. But be sure that an an informational affidavit is filed so that you are found to lease or for pooling.

#3

A Texas lease describes the gross acres under the lease and does not state the lessor’s fractional interest in the minerals. The lease in question would only be effective as to the lessor’s fractional (1/5) interest in the minerals. If no well was drilled and is producing, then the 2012 lease will have expired by now. It may be that the oil company took the first lease and then decided to walk off from the acreage and that is why all the other leases were returned. If there is a producing well on the acreage or including the acreage, then the other owners are unleased mineral owners who will be paid once the well reaches payout (recovery of drilling and other costs). The oil company has an obligation to answer your questions about the payout status of the well and give you information.