Inherited oil royalties with title suspense

I have been contacted by a company called RTC Royalty and they informed me that my family has royalty interests that are in suspense due to title issues. They know the interest was in my grandmother’s name Eleanor Bent, who passed away back in 1990 and that my brother and I are the sole heirs. My grandfather, George R. Bent who passed in 1983, was the one who would have purchased the mineral and oil rights. This RTC company wants 30% of the royalties that are held up and 30% for all new royalty payments. I am trying to figure this out for myself before I sign a contract with them. I was able to find documentation that states my grandmother owned something with Petro - Lewis Oil and Gas, I assume this what we have interest in. Petro Lewis sold off 70% of their assets to Freeport McMoRan in 1986, not sure where the other 30% went. Freeport McMoRan sold off their oil and gas interests in 2016 to Sentinel Peak Petroleum and to Anadrako Petroleum. Occidental acquired Anadrako in 2019. I have reached out to each of those companies and they don’t have any royalties in suspense in my grandparents name.I was also told that the royalties started in 2017, so we are at the 7 year mark.

All I have to offer is my grandmother’s name, Eleanor Bent. I don’t have any account numbers. How do I figure out what oil company has the title in suspense that is holding the oil royalties.

A bit confused, are they trying to buy your interests? Or just trying to get your funds out of suspense for a 30% fee? A local attorney could get them out of suspense for much less than 30%, Id most certainly go down that road first, 30% is crazy.

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Have you check the unclaimed property website in the state where the minerals are located. In OK, a law was passed several years ago to limit finder’s fees to 25%.


I checked Chaim it Texas and didn’t find anything

I think a demand of 30% of all accumulated and future revenues from all existing and future wells is outrageous. And how do you know if it just one property or there are other tracts. Start with the county and state and research your grandparent’s names in the deed records. There will be deed(s) and leases which will give you legal descriptions. Then you can look at the state oil and gas records to see what well(s) are located on the tract(s) and contact the operator. If the lease to Petro-Lewis is old, then it probably expired and that is why Oxy has no records. Some other company will have drilled and be operating a well.


They want to charge a 30% fee to get them out of suspense and then take 30% of the royalty payments for ever. They know the answer I don’t.

Problem is they know what oil company has the royalties I don’t. I have been trying to figure it myself but haven’t been successful. How do I find a lawyer or landman to help me.

An absolute terribly self serving proposal… 30% of your assets on a number of which you don’t even know. Run, do not walk.

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I agree it is outrageous and that’s why I want to try and figure it out myself. All I was told was the title is in suspense and it’s in Texas, I don’t know what county.

What kind of document with Petro Lewis do you have? See it Ireference a county or legal description or unit. Why do you think the interest is in Texas? Maybe interest came through the parents of your grandfather or grandmother.


Are you able to post a copy of this documentation? Or, as someone else suggested, do you see any information on the document about a County or Well name or Section-Township-Range?

There are many members on this forum who would love to help you, but we need just a bit more information.

I was told by this RTC Royalty that it is in my grandmothers name and in Texas.

All I have is what was listed in grandfathers will Petro Lewis producing CO II CERT. OF LTD PTN Petro Lewis oil INC PROG VIII CERT. OF LTD PTN

This is all I have found that has anything to do with oil companies.

This is most likely an investment in oil and gas wells through a Petro-Lewis limited partnership. Petro-Lewis got into financial trouble and was at least threatened by bankruptcy before its sale to Freeport-McMoran. These limited partnership rights would not have been deeds for any property rights to the limited partners.

This actually sounds like it was a security (like a stock) in the Petro Lewis Oil Income Program. If you look on the Illinois Unclaimed Property website, you’ll find that George Bent has several unclaimed properties there, including for securities. One of those Illinois unclaimed properties is for FMP Operating, which was Freeport McMoran.

I would start with the Illinois Unclaimed Property website: I would not enter into a contract with RTC without knowing more information, or honestly, ever.

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I checked the Illinois website and there was a few unclaimed properties for my grandfather, the FMP was $224. So this Petro Lewis Limited Partnership that I have been tracking down must not be the royalty that has a title in suspense. Back to square one.

@Bentjo, you might try the statewide search feature on Texasfile. I think there is a small fee, but otherwise you would have to do 200+ individual searches. Some counties may only have newer data, but you might get lucky and find some clues in your search.

If you need multiple states, you can also check

Please keep in mind that there is no guarantee that your grandmother owned minerals in Texas. Did anyone in your family reside in Texas or have direct connections there or did anyone work of an oil company? Could minerals be in her maiden name? You should search unclaimed funds in the names of all your ancestors and their siblings. It is entirely possible that the landman has found a name and thinks that your grandmother might possibly be an heir. Consult an attorney before signing any agreement so that you know what your legal obligations might be and what expenses you might incur in the process and also to see if the company can charge you for costs even if there are no minerals or royalties. How will your personal information, including social security number, be protected? And keep in mind that any and all terms are negotiable.

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Start by going back to your grandmother’s or grandfather’s probate filled to see if these properties/ leaders were listed as assets in the inventory or “loose papers”. I read able to find a list from my great grandfather to grand dad to dad that way.

Another option is to use a site called, or the TXGLO (BLM records). Start by typing in Texas, and your relative’s name (try both people). Leave county blank (let it search all) and see what it finds. Could be one or a whole list. Check the deed records for transactions through the years until you come to present. That should give you the info you need to start asking the right questions without costing you $400/hr for a lawyer to do the same thing.

Good luck!

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At least RTC made you aware of the fact. Calling their ask of 30% isn’t too outrageous considering you never had any idea.