Drilling without Consent

I genuinely need help!! I found out that a major energy and oil company has been producing oil from my land for 12 years now without my consent or knowledge. I have never signed or agreed to anything!!

When I spoke with the energy company they let me know that there are no royalties or anything set to the side and that they are legally allowed to produce from my land.

If this is the case. Do I have options? Can I go to a seperate Oil and energy company to actually lease from my land instead of being taken advantage of by the current energy company?

Do you own surface & minerals? What state & county? Do you have clear, marketable title with your contact information on record at the county clerk’s office?

@Candace_H, sorry to hear you are in that situation, it isn’t a great situation for a mineral owner to be in. You probably do have options, but the options vary greatly depending on which state your property is located in. Also, most states have a statute of limitations that limits the possibility for back royalties to three or four years.
Before you spend a lot of time researching your title chain (which will be at your cost), it is probably good to see how the existing well or wells on your land are producing. Often, after 12 years, they may be in a low production part of their life. If you have a small acreage or a small interest in the land, the royalty payments you are missing may be rather small anyway and you won’t make your expenses back in your lifetime.
Another pitfall is that often one of the options involves becoming part of the working interest, which means you would share in the operating expenses and eventual plugging expenses of the well. If you can it is always helpful to discuss with an experienced oil and gas attorney in the state your property is located.

Yes, you have options.

The fact that the energy company has been producing oil from your land without your consent or knowledge is considered trespass. You may be able to sue the company for damages, including the value of the oil that has been extracted from your land. You may also be able to obtain an injunction to stop the company from continuing to produce oil from your land without your permission.

In addition, you may be able to lease your land to a different oil and energy company. However, before you do so, you should have an attorney review the terms of the lease agreement to make sure that you are getting a fair deal and that your interests are protected.

Here are some specific steps you can take:

  1. Contact an attorney who specializes in oil and gas law to discuss your case. The attorney can advise you on your legal options and help you to determine the best course of action.
  2. Gather evidence of the trespass, such as photographs or videos of the oil and gas operations on your land. You may also want to obtain copies of any lease agreements or other documents that the energy company has signed with other landowners in your area.
  3. Send a demand letter to the energy company, setting out your legal claims and demanding compensation. If the company does not respond to your demand letter, or if you are not satisfied with their response, you may need to file a lawsuit.

If you decide to lease your land to a different oil and energy company, be sure to have an attorney review the terms of the lease agreement before you sign it. The attorney can make sure that the lease agreement is fair to you and that your interests are protected.

It is important to note that the law on oil and gas rights varies from state to state. Be sure to consult with an attorney who specializes in oil and gas law in your state to discuss your specific case.

Sorry, but this is wrong on so many levels. If she doesnt own any minerals, how in the world could she sue the oil company for the value of oil extracted? And how would she be able to lease the land to a different oil company if its producing and she doesnt own minerals?

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The first item to clarify is whether you own the mineral rights to the land only, the surface only, or both.

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Thank you everyone for assisting me. Yes I do own the minerals and have proof of everthing that pertains to this situation. Im in the state of Louisiana

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Louisiana has a dormant minerals law. If you do not claim your minerals every ten years, then then the minerals can revert to the surface owner. You should contact an attorney and find out what your options are. First place to look would be in the county courthouse to see if your minerals were claimed by the surface owner.

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Hi Candace,

I am going through a similar scenario. I own surface and mineral rights to 40 acres in Caddo Parish, Louisiana. The current operator bought the lease from Texeco in 2008. I have contacted the county clerks and researched their online database for an original lease to determine the lease terms and the agreed-upon royalty interest. I can’t find any record of the original lease, and the operator has refused to furnish the lease when requested by an attorney. They sent production and payment history instead. Payments have been escheated to the state, but I am unclear on how they determined the royalty amount if there is no lease with the royalty agreement. I never signed a declaration of interest and have never seen the original lease. I, too, want to stop the operator’s production and sell or lease to an operator for a fair royalty amount. Does anyone have any recommendations regarding obtaining the original lease and if I am owed damages if a royalty amount was arbitrarily assigned to my lease by the operator without my signed declaration of interest? I received a check from the treasury for the escheated funds and think I should not cash the check because I do not agree with the royalty amount. Is it possible that the current operator is drilling without a lease, and if so, can I receive damages or back royalties?

The original lease should be filed in the county courthouse. The digital files may not go back far enough in time. You may need the paper files. If it was an old lease, it could have been at 1/8th which was quite common for many decades. Ask the operator’s Division Order analyst for the net acres and royalty that they have on file for you.

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