Can minerals be found under a lake?

Kinda weird question but My Grandparents had a lease for mineral rights long ago but the surface is now a lake. Can minerals be found under water or how does that work because they did receive royalties for a little bit but not sure if it was pre lake. Thank you!

Not a weird question at all! Yes, oil and gas can be produced under a lake just fine. It’s a bit more complicated/expensive than if the surface were grassland, but better than if the surface were a crowded subdivision. If the lake is small enough (say, if the target reservoir is a mile or less from the shore), then the oil company can drill from the shoreline and steer the well under the lake. Most oil & gas deposits are more than 3000’ deep, and most lakes are less than 100’ deep.


Tracy gave a great answer and a good picture. The status may be a bit more complicated if the lake has changed shape due to various reasons or if your acres border a river that has moved. That situation needs a new survey and a legal definition (big issue in ND right now). Directional or horizontal drilling can get to many of those reserves, but who owns them can change over time.

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the answer somewhat depends on the particular location and situation. in those situations where the lake/pond is in a part of a section, the dry part and the wet part could be in a section or a unit.

Great responses so far. Minerals can be under a body of water (ie off-shore wells), but as pointed out who owns the rights thereto may be a difficult question. For example, "The permanent political boundary line between the states of Texas and Oklahoma along the Red River is the vegetation line along the south bank of the Red River except for the Texoma area, where the boundary does not change. " So Oklahoma’s territory may expand or contract based upon the vegetation line.

Thank you all for such great responses!

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