How do I find out what mineral rights we own?

My family owns mineral rights in several parcels of land in the Uinta Basin. We are able to identify some from Quit Claim Deeds filed over the years, and others from mineral rights leases with operators. But how can I do a more definitive search to find what I may NOT know?

  1. If I know the owner name (may family trust name), can I find the parcels that way?
  2. Or, if I know the parcel Township/Range/Section, can I confirm whether we own rights in that parcel?

I’m am brand new to the mineral rights game, so I’m not even sure I’m asking the question correctly. I would just like to figure out what we own.

Thanks!

Welcome to the forum. Start with what you do know and make a spreadsheet. The try to see if the counties have online datasearch capabilities. You may be able to find some that way. Use the trust name and also the ancestor (or more) that set up the trust. Once you find all that you can find, you might hire a landman that works that area and pay them to do the footwork in the counties that are not digital yet.

https://www.ogm.utah.gov/ Learn what the state rules are, where wells are, resources, etc.

Get to know the business. Read the Mineral Tab above. Also read all the posts for the Utah Mineral Rights area. Not too much activity, but will get you started.

I find this website helpful. Go to the Search Documents tab and then LSR. You can type in the Township and Range and get maps. I start with the Master Title Plat. These are the original patent maps back to statehood.
http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/search/default.aspx

Both Uintah and Duchesne counties require subscriptions, but the vast majority of documents are available online and searching is available by both #'s 1 and 2 from your post. The operator can tell you as well. If you are comfortable posting the S/T/R, you can get back some idea quickly, but it looks like it may be Ovintiv.

Thanks a lot for the help, nop_llc!

The parcel I’m interested in confirming whether we have mineral rights is Section 7, Township 4 South, Range 3 West (Duchesne County). And yes, Ovintiv is the operator. But they have not been able to provide me with any documentation that confirms we have mineral rights there.

And by the way, I talked to the Duchesne County recorder’s office and she told me they have nothing online as far as mineral rights go, and that I’d have to personally visit the recorder’s office and manually search the record books. I’d love it if I could do some of this research online!

Thanks for the detailed email, Martha, but I was not able to find anything useful on either of the web sites you suggested. And unfortunately, Duchesne County does not have any searchable mineral right information online, at least according to the County Recorder’s office. I’ve been to their web site and I don’t see anything as far as searching mineral rights records.

Duchesne county does have online mineral deed records, it’s just the most convoluted system I’ve had to use. You have to request an online subscription through an email, pay a fee, then use a VM software to access their remote terminal and look through the deed records.

https://www.duchesne.utah.gov/your-government-2/elected-officials/recorder/online-subscriptions/

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Areyou able to hire a landman?

I suppose we could, yes, although I’ll admit to being a little afraid of the cost. I’d love it if someone here could give me an idea of about how much it would cost to hire a landman to do this type of research for us.

Hi @tracy_lenz,

I spoke with the Duchesne County recorder on the phone recently and she told me that the mineral rights deeds are NOT online and must be search manually in the record books. Can you (or anyone here) confirm whether that is accurate? It would be SO much better if one could search these records online, assuming they actually have been scanned into the digital records.

Depending on the landmans experience, usually they range from $250-$600 per day. Plus travel expenses if they are not local to the area. Depending on how difficult title is, and how many different sections you own is what will determine the ultimate cost.

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There are a couple good landmen over in Vernal. I worked with both in Duchesne and Uintah counties for several years. One has a law degree. I’ll check to see if they want their names posted here.

The Duchesne County recorder is giving you inaccurate information. Either you talked to someone that is inexperienced over there, or they didn’t quite understand what you are looking for. They have a certain % of their records available to search online with a paid subscription. Their online system is a pain in the butt to use, but it does include all types of docs going back to a certain date…early 80’s last time I used it in early 2022. They do have some docs older than the 80’s available online, but it’s hit or miss. For a county with as much oil and gas activity as they have, they have been the slowest I have seen to get their documents online.

Where the clerk you spoke with may have been confused is with some of the specific Mineral Records books they have in their office that cover the time period prior to where their digital records start. If you are in need of a full patent-to-present search, which is sounds like you are, then yes, you will have to visit the recorders office to pull the older docs.

To answer your questions #1 & #2 in your post:

  1. Maybe, but could turn into a needle in the haystack type of situation. You would still need to visit the recorder’s to pull older docs.
  2. Yes, with a patent to present search. Part of the search can be done online, but part will require a trip to the recorder’s office.
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@VernalLand, thank you for that great explanation, it is very much appreciated!

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Yes, there are definitely mineral deeds in their online system, but maybe she thinks they’re not technically online since you’re remoting into a system and not a website? Still digital. @VernalLand explained it well. And while their website says they’ll not scan something on demand, you can email and ask if they have a certain page from a certain volume and sometimes get lucky. I did a bunch of hunting through the index records (which IS scanned back to patent) and you can get a feel for where to look based on what’s in the index. I was on a super tight budget and spent HOURS (days? weeks? things were slower then) trying to find stuff online and made a nice dent in the work.

Here’s an example of a document (one of many) I got off the online system (but just to put it out there, PLEASE, I beg, do not use this as an example of how to file a deed. This is now NOT to file a deed):

Example of index scan:

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@tracy_lenz Thank you for that incredibly informative reply! I really appreciate it!