Info on inherited mineral rights?

My father passed away recently and I am the Administrator of his estate. I have been contacted by someone from UpCurve Energy. He had been receiving check from a lease from Noble Energy. My father inherited a small percentage (.00086806) of mineral rights in Reeves County Section 10, 11, 12,16 B lock C-8. I think it is on 2011 acres but I am not even sure about that. How do I find out what he actually owns and what it is worth? We are trying to decide if we sell or further diving the mineral rights to my fathers descendants.
I am from Ohio and don’t know where to start. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

where to start is for you as executor to contact every courthouse and find out what is there and in what form. or you will miss huge chunks.

1 Like

The Reeves County Clerk’s phone number is (432) 445-5467. They can give you some information and guidence to further your goal.

Stephen Watkins

1 Like

Reeves County, Texas is one of the dozen highest-volume oil producing counties in Texas. Whatever you sell the mineral rights for today could easily be eclipsed by total royalty income over the next 5 - 10 years. Just food for thought.

How to find out what your father owned? You can start with an online subscription title service like Courthouse Direct to research land titles remotely from Ohio. It is fairly user friendly, and will allow you to search on your father’s name (and name of the ancestor from whom he inherited, if it was inherited). You want to search to get a list of every document of record containing your father’s name. When the list comes up, you can view what’s there and decide what documents you want to pay for and download as .pdf directly to your computer. You only pay for what you download.

You want to look for any deed with your father’s name in it, first. The title could be “deed” or “conveyance”. The list of documents will state the document type for each one listed. If any probate documents are in the list, you want to consider which of those to download. The Will and Order Admitting Will to Probate and Order Accepting Final Accounting are three important probate title documents that oil and gas companies use for title determination in cases of inheritance. In your case, they may or may not exist. If there’s no Will and accompanying court documents filed in the courthouse, look for an Affidavit of Death and Heirship filed of record in the name of the person from whom your father inherited the interest.

If you find the deed with the name of the family member or other person (original source in the line of inheritance) on it, look at the legal description (land description) given in the deed. If the description says something like, “more fully described in that certain Deed dated XX/XX/XXXX, by and between NAME as Grantor, and NAME as Grantee (original source person in the line of inheritance), recorded in Volume XXX, Page XXX of the records of Reeves County, Texas” you want to get a paper copy of that specific deed from the courthouse. You’d might have to write for it, since it could be older than the beginning date of the Courthouse Direct online records. But you need it because that old deed is what is called the “source deed” since it contains a complete metes-and-bounds description of the land that was conveyed by that deed. Then you must walk forward, conveyance by conveyance, Grantor to Grantee 1, Grantor (was Grantee 1) to Grantee 2, etc., adjusting the legal description by only that which was conveyed in each transaction, until title comes into your father.

I assume that the 0.00086806 decimal you give is the decimal credited to your father in the current division order for a pooled unit or lease well producing from the land somewhere in the sections you listed? If that’s the case, then the 0.00086806 decimal is not what your father owned in the land itself. That is only the amount of production sales proceeds your father was entitled to receive from the well, or wells in the pooled unit. It would have been calculated using a basic formula of (mineral rights fraction) X (lease royalty rate) X (gross acres of the lease included in the well area) divided by (total gross acres in the well area). Example: 1/27 mineral interest x 3/16 royalty rate x 80/640 = 0.00086806 royalty interest for royalty payments.

My sincere advice is to not consider selling any of the mineral rights until you can determine with certainty exactly what fraction or percentage of mineral rights your father owned in whatever lands in Reeves County, Texas. To emphasize this, you should know that, even if the 0.00086806 is the amount of mineral rights owned in as much as 2,011 acres, that means your father owned 0.00086806 times 2,011 acres, or 1.746 net acres. Right now, new leases being taken in Reeves County are paying between $25,000 and $80,000 per net acre. That calculates to between $43,650.00 and $139,680.00 signing bonus just for the oil and gas lease, before any well is drilled. Once the lease is drilled and begins to produce, the decimal 0.00086806 (if it is a division order decimal) calculates to a royalty payment of $868.06 for every $1 Million of production from each well. A lease containing 2,011 acres could have well over a dozen wells on it at any given time, for 50 years or more, each with a life of between $20 Million and $100 Million in production revenues. Do the math and you will see why mineral rights in Reeves County, Texas are considered some of the most valuable mineral rights in America.


Thank you for this information! This is extremely helpful!

Make sure you have the deed. File an Affidavit of Heirship with the Reeves County Clerk. fee required. Notify the Production company (PRI) of your heirship rights providing all the backup documentation (copy of deed, copy of Affidavit of Heirship with stamp from County Clerks office and receipt, death certificates where appropriate.) Barry

1 Like

Marsha, While I agree with most of what you said and you certainly provided Tina_Peterson with great feedback you’re estimated lease bonuses are extremely inflated. No one on earth is paying $80,000 per acre to lease acreage anywhere in Reeves Co. or any place in the Delaware or Midland Basins. There has not been a single lease ever purchased in Reeves Co. for $80,000 per acre. In fact very few owners have ever even received $25,000 per acre for lease bonuses. These people were able to command such large prices $20k - $25k per acre because they controlled large parcels of land (160+ acres) in the “sweet spots” of Reeves Co.

When you spout off these inaccurate numbers you create a false narrative for these people. Furthermore, it makes it impossible for legitimate oil and gas companies to work deals out with owners because people give owners false ideas of the true value of their properties.

I certainly appreciate your feedback but it’s frustrating when members of this forum spout out information that is based on their own assumptions which are 100% inaccurate.

1 Like

Ryan, thank you for posting the additional information. You are correct in some of your statements and incorrect in others, but there is no need to disagree further. I simply need to clarify that my statements are based on direct knowledge, not assumptions, and to add that every oil and gas lease is a separate, stand-alone negotiation between that mineral owner and that Lessee.

The primary point of negotiation for almost every owner is the signing bonus, of course, but the amount of signing bonus that was negotiated for every oil and gas lease filed of record in Reeves County will not be found in the public record. The signing bonus paid to any owner is what the market will bear, as reflected by the degree of desire the Lessee has for obtaining the mineral rights in any given location at any given time and a long list of other factors. And, the amount of signing bonus agreed upon can be “traded” for better lease terms, such as higher royalty rate, length of the lease, and special provisions that will optimize an owner’s lease profits later, just to name a few.

Your concerns are well-taken, however, and I appreciate your posting them. Readers should know that a signing bonus in Reeves County, Texas offered on December 12, 2019 could be a low as $300 or as high as the owner and Lessee can agree. The main take-away here is that every mineral owner must negotiate their own oil and gas lease to the best of their ability (since the majority of owners are reluctant to incur the expense of involving an attorney), and knowledge can help them negotiate the best deal beyond just the amount of signing bonus. That said, all talk of signing bonuses is a look-back, not a look-forward.

Thank you for posting your valuable points. I’m glad you put them out here.

1 Like