Do Mineral Rights that are Dormant ever Revert to Surface Owners?

In Texas, do dormant mineral rights after so many years ever revert to the surface owners? If so,how many years must elapse before that can happen?

To the best of my knowledge, mineral rights do not revert to surface owners in Texas unless a deed contained reversionary language in the severance deeds. Most common I’ve seen are often called a Term Mineral Deed or Term Royalty Deed. They can transfer ownership for however long the Grantor wants (the term). The term is usually for a set number of years and as long thereafter as oil, gas or both are produced from the land. This is not the only way a reversionary interest is created, but it’s the most common I’ve seen.

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Thank You for the great insight! I know in Louisiana this can happen. Just curious for Texas.

In addition to ABond’s spot-on answer, I have worked with deeds that stated a specific term and did not contain the “as long thereafter as oil, gas or both are produced” language.

One in particular that I remember was for an exact term of 70 years from the date of the deed. The land covered by the deed was producing oil on the date it expired and reverted to the Grantor. Since there was no language concerning ongoing production, the entitlement to receive royalty reverted automatically to the heirs of the Grantor named in the deed (who was long since deceased). Through diligent genealogical research, we were able to identify one of the heirs and took it from there to determine who the then-current owners of the royalties were.

The deed term expired in March, 2000 but all of the heirs were not located until early 2005. At least the suspended royalties during that time were not paid over to the state because we were able to locate at least that first heir before the deadline for turning it over as unclaimed property.

Wow! That is amazing! Iam just a small surface land owner but iam very curious about minerals and how all of this works. It’s my first land purchase so iam very green to all of this but very excited! Thank you both for your wonderful insights!

It depends upon the state as well. Quite a few states have dormant mineral laws, so you have to look up the laws for the particular state.

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