Interest on unpaid royalties

My sister and I inherited rights in w.v.and signed the lease over 5 and a half years ago. I started looking into our payments when I realiz d the lease was coming ng to an end and we haven’t heard anything. At all. We got 100$ each to sign. I notified our guy Phil who was our liaison or representative working with Antero. He verified that drill was done a long time ago and when I told him we got nothing he scratch his head. I wrote to owner relations at they said they needed a change of address and they sent me that to the only address I ever had. I wrote back stating I have the same address and we needed division orders as Phil had said. They sent my sister a division order but I still got nothing. Last month she got a check. I wrote owner relations try to explain I need a division order . My sister got one and I started this work back in April of last year. I received another change of address request in my mailbox. The one I’m not suppose to have. This happened 3 times. Still no order.

Send the change of address back again and send by certified mail return receipt, so that you have a record of who received it and the date. Just keep after them. Put a cover letter on it explaining how many times you have tried to correct the address and request interest on the back royalties. That usually gets their attention.

Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to chime in on my post. I’ve read many of your responses and comments regarding other folks situation as it relates to oil rights. Can I just follow up with another question. At what point during or after drilling commences are the owners notified of the status of the drills ng and are the owners paid within a specific time frame of the drilling ceases? We were never notified of anything for over 5 years . At that point I called Phil Sanders , and he confirmed that they were done drilling . I was a little stunned. He said get a division order from Antero. It just sounds like a hustle. For lack of a more suitable term. Thanks again. I appreciate your input.

This is a general answer for the timeline.

When leasing, a leasing title opinion is supposed to be done to find mineral owners and lease them. (May or may not be done correctly or at all). Leases are taken and filed. Drilling commences. Operators do not contact mineral owners at that time. When the well is completed and put online if productive, then the real title work starts. A Division Order title opinion is done with a different set of attorneys. Because the DO is a contract to pay the right owners, the right amount of money, this title work is taken seriously (but still may have errors.) It takes about four-five months to track down the titles for perhaps hundreds of owners. Then division orders are sent out. Depending upon the state, DO’s are required to be signed and a W-9 returned (TX and states with similar laws) or are not required, but still need a W-9 (WV & OK and states with similar statues). Payments are usually determined by statute-120 days or 180 days common depending upon the state.

If a mineral owner has moved since the leasing, then the operator has no way to know that or to contact them. The mineral owner should file a change of address with the recorder of deeds in the county (or counties) where mineral rights are owned. The mineral owner is also required to contact the operator and give them a change of address. If one knows that the well is online and paying out, it is wise to send the change of address and the W-9 by certified mail return receipt so that the owner has proof that the operator has received the information. I send mine to the division order department.

Sometimes there are title issues that have to be cured. Operators don’t seems to be quite as good at communicating those in a timely fashion as they are trying to get payments out on time to the folks that they know they have to pay who have the clear title. They have to pay interest if folks are not paid on time, so the clear title owners have priority in the time line.

Mineral owners who have not received payments and are past the six month time frame after first production should contact the DO department by certified mail (also phone and email) and ask if there is a title or address issue to get the ball rolling on payments. Also demand interest to get their attention! Keep copies of all correspondence.

Hope this helps. If it makes you feel better, it took me seven years of repeated requests to get paid on one well that actually had no title issue. They just missed me. Nice interest check!

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What happens in a case where a title issue needs cured on a property with an active gas well? We found minerals in Oklahoma that should have been passed down from an uncle along with his other minerals, but one was forgotten. I have contacted the operator via phone and email with no response. How should we proceed in an instance like this? Thanks!

Send a certified letter return receipt to the Division Order department of the operator and ask what they need to get the correct heirs into pay status. You may have some legal work to do, but see what they need. Follow up with an email and a phone call. Keep copies of all your correspondence and attempts. If the uncle had a clause i his will about any other assets, it might not be too hard. If not, then you will need that legal help.