Hello everyone, first I'd like to say that this forum has been a blessing to me over the last few weeks! A great big THANK YOU to everyone for your information and your sharing!! I apologize for this very long post, there's a lot to share.
About 3 weeks ago, my 3 siblings and I, all California residents, were contacted by a researcher from Antero Resources regarding possible heirship of mineral rights in Doddridge County - West Union District. We learned that our Great-Great Grandfather acquired (mineral rights, maybe other rights?) sometime in the 1800's. My grandmother and her cousin signed a lease in 1960, and according to the researcher, it was still valid. She was attempting to track who the current heirs were for our portion (it ended up being us, as we had death certificates and other information). This came as a total surprise to all of us, and at the time we were notified, we all knew less than nothing about mineral rights.
Since I had the time, I took on the task of doing the reading and research to share with everyone, so that we would all be informed. We are all together in this (no rogues wanting to run, sign, etc).
Since then we have all signed and notarized Affidavits of Heirship documents and returned them to Antero. The researcher then gave me the name of someone named Matt from Clearwater Land Services; this landman would be our contact from that point on. We had a lot of questions, so I sent Matt an email with them. Rather than email me, he called me back. He said he would be mailing out lease revision documentation which will be a pooling modification to the original lease signed in 1960. This revision will be asking permission to drill between 1 and 12 wells in a very large area that includes ours. He's mailed them since then ... my siblings got theirs, I should get mine tomorrow.
Here is the info I have gathered so far, along with what we believe we need to do next:
The landman told me that we own 1/6 mineral rights in 47.8 acres (last figure, the number keeps changing). He said the 4 of us each would receive royalties from 4 net acres.
We have no idea who owns the mineral rights on the other 5/6. According to ancestry.com my great-grandfather had 6 siblings, 1 deceased rather young, perhaps each sibling owned a share.
We have no idea who owns the surface rights. Nor do we know who has been paying the taxes all of these years. We don't know if there is anyone speaking for us.
Obviously we have not been receiving any royalties over the last several decades, nor do we know if anyone else is. I do know that my grandmother and my mother weren't getting anything.
I have reference tax map numbers, and was able to track down a Royalty person at CNX Gas. She told me that two wells were drilled in the 90's. I have the well API #'s. She was able to tell me that the royalty recipients were listed as "unknown." She was going to research this and get back to me last week (haven't heard back yet). Have no idea if these wells are active, although the researcher told me that our property had "active wells."
While tracking down the current lessor I learned that the 1960 lease was passed on through the years to different gas companies.
We have no idea of the current lease contents.
Through the OOG map, I was able to learn that there is an abandoned well assigned to my heirs (Kinney Heirs) (permit in 1960), about the time the lease was signed.
The landman gave me a verbal general idea of possible royalties ... an estimate of $1,000 to $2,000 per month for each of us based on our 4 net acres, could be less, could be more. He said the company doesn't like them to do this, so "don't quote me." I'm not giving that part of the conversation a whole lot of weight at this point.
He gave me an estimate of 18 months from now to receipt of first royalties. He said we would get a Division Order about 9 months before we get our first check.
We can see the wisdom of having an attorney review the lease document; however, I'd like to keep costs down by doing as much of the research as I can. What I think we need to acquire now is any deed information, tax information, a copy of the 1960 lease, learn who owns the rights to the other 5/6, status of existing wells, and any prior royalty info.
I will welcome any advice and assistance, along with questions! From this forum I've learned what we need to have in the lease (certain clauses). Once I have the lease I will share what is in it. Thank you!