Inherited 78 acres of mineral rights

I have inherited the mineral rights on 78 acres in Lewis County, West Virginia. I was contacted by someone who is contracted by oil and gas companies to track down the owners because they are interested in drilling on it for the first time. Should I look to lease to them or sell them? Any thoughts/opinions are welcome at this point! Thanks.

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My family also got contacted by a Landman tracking down mineral rights owner’s in Brooke County West Virginia. All the advice I’m getting from reading about this topic and talking to a lawyer is don’t sell! The potential for revenue is far greater if you hold on to the minerals and lease. I love all the info on this forum and also the mineral rights pod cast!

Thank you for your reply! Are you any further along in the process of dealing with this or have you just had the initial contact from a Landman?

I really need help in all this as well. Im trying to find out where the property is that has my mineral rights. Any suggestions??

Im guessing all the posts above stem from a reservation made in the early 1900’s where they drilled small wells to heat their homes? If so and assuming its on the 3rd or 4th generation now, do yall or the landman have all the heirs and documents filed to know exactly what you own? Its a mess and takes extensive research/time/money to figure out who owns what from what ive heard and takes a lot of time and patience.

We are not sure. The clerks office tells me to look it up on their site. I was able to fond one lease from 1912. The other deed dated 1930 I cant even get to pull up. How do you fond the exact location of said mineral rights. So confusing.

Also who exactly is the landman? Sorry this is all new to us.

The landman would be whomever contacted you to lease or buy the minerals. If I had to guess, the 1912 lease would be his last one, so researching the title chain is probably pointless unless your family still owns the land. The main issue you will have is determining your grandpa/ma or great grandpa/ma’s heirs and who all gets what. Its basically like building a family tree from 1930 to see who the heirs are and likely why they are calling and what they are interested in. Im not sure on how to search WV counties doccuments, Im sure someone on here can help ya but if they sold it decades ago, you wont find anything that will help you out.

We have the tree. Lol. They have been paying our mother a $1.00/year. The modification has come from Antero and we have contacted them to prove heirship. Just knowing where the property is would give some ease to the search. I called both the assessors office and the clerk office and they say I have to find it out from Antero. That makes me feel like there is a newer lease because the original (1912) was from “the Whg Nat Gas Co”. If Antero is attempting to make a modification wouldnt that mean there would be a newer original. I need educated! Lol. Thank you for all you doing to help!

I finally found the deed on Brooke county website and it was from the early 1900’s as well . It’s impossible to figure out where the property is from the wording ! It refers to where the wild cherry tree is and stones in the road and how many poles this way and that way . It goes on and on with info that makes no sense today . So I called the county clerk again and they said I might need to pay some to do a title search . The land man is in the process of doing the title search to purchase some of the mineral rights from other relatives so I might see if a legal address comes up from that or even on the future lease that we are hoping for .

So you found the deed to… the land that the minerals are under?

Yes I found the original deed by searching for my ancestors name on the Brooke county website.

Sounds like CoMimi is going through what I am. I as well found a transfer of deed and it has the same type of property description.

You would want to ask HG Energy for Proof of title and I would lease, not sell. Please look to an oil and gas attorney or oil and gas professional on help with the lease.

Thank you Joe for your help!

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I would suggest bringing in an Oil and Gas attorney early. They know the market, going prices and can safeguard your interests.

HG Energy is in Lewis County, not Brooke County. SWN is up in Brooke Co, WV

Thank you everyone!!

I too got a phone all today about mineral rights in Lewis County, WV. I found your forum because I don’t even know where to begin with this. I don’t know where the property is, and what mineral rights I even own. Where do I turn to look all this up and see what I actually own.

This looks like a great thread to post some oil and gas basics in. I’m a West Virginia oil and gas attorney, have been since 2010. I worked as a landman here in WV for a few years before hanging out my shingle.

A landman is a person who works on the ownership (title) of oil and gas rights. They’ll do research to figure out the owner, undertake actions to help clear up title questions, and take leases from owners. Often these responsibilities will be split up between different people.

A landman will reach out to you once they think you’re the owner of some oil and gas rights. They’re not always 100% sure you’re the right person, but they’re right about 98% of the time. I’ve had clients get deals yanked out from under them because it turned out they didn’t actually own mineral rights like the landman initially believed. That sucks.

Usually, great-grandpa/ma owned property here in WV, sold the surface to someone who wanted to farm, and kept back the mineral rights. Minerals were valuable in the late 1800’s early 1900’s here. About 1920 or so, Texas and Oklahoma became the main oil and gas states, as most of the easy oil had been pulled out of the ground here. So people forgot about their mineral rights ownership and it passed down to their heirs over the generations. That’s why the last deed with your family member’s name on it is usually from 1900-1920.

You will usually own a percentage of the tract, usually a small percentage. Families back in the day were large and each child with heirs inherited an equal percentage of the oil and gas rights.

If you want to look up your family name in the county records, they’re mostly online now. Do a search for “[county name] idx”. That will bring up the IDX interface. Looking up recent documents is pretty straightforward, but older deeds require you to use the Vault Index to access the Index Books, and the Image Search to find the actual document that the Index points you to. Someday maybe they’ll have all the documents indexed so that you can just do a regular search, but for now it’s clunky. If you need help, call the County and the record room workers will be able to help you navigate the website.

If all you want to know is where the surface tract is located, ask the landman. S/he will be able to tell you.