Is Recording a Mineral Lease an Absolute Requirement?

Is a mineral lease agreement with an operator, that is not recorded with the County Recorder’s Office voided, or is it valid on it’s face?

Thanks for the replies gentlemen. I appreciate your insight, really do. Seems like a major producer, purchasing an existing lease, from another producer, would ensure that their newly acquired lease is recorded to protect them selves. Makes sense to me.

An added question: What is the obligation of the operator, who is the sucessor lessee, to provide a copy of a new lease to the holder of the mineral rights? Same language different letter head? Hmmm, very interesting. Still much to learn here... I am graduating to the 4th grade in the school of oil and gas matters.


r w kennedy said:

Mr. Tofson, I don't think it's an absolute requirement. I think a lessee should at least record a memorandum of lease to avoid confusion and or trouble. I think if there was a meeting of the minds and the lessee gave the agreed consideration, you would have a valid contract recorded or not.

Buddy: Along the same subject I had a mineral lease with Company “A” who later sold 60% interest to Company “B”. Does Company “B” need to record this transaction? In the provisions of the original lease, it provided for assignment of the lease. Therefore, the original lease terms and provisions apply to Company “B”.

As a rule in real estate law, if it is not recorded, then it can not be enforced. That means all transactions need to be written (not verbal) and be recorded as public notice.

I don't think an oil company would not record their lease. It would put them in peril of proving their position.

Thanks for that Tom, I would think that recording a G & O lease would be automatic too. As soon as the ICRIS Records Lookup system is back up I'll have another look around. So many records to check, it makes my head spin!


Thomas Mullins said:

As a rule in real estate law, if it is not recorded, then it can not be enforced. That means all transactions need to be written (not verbal) and be recorded as public notice.

I don't think an oil company would not record their lease. It would put them in peril of proving their position.

Dear Buddy....When I studied for my Real Estate Brokers License, and my Mortgage Lenders License, My SEC License and taught Real Estate Law in college, the statutory law of several states regarding the rule of Parol Evidence in Real Estate maters was and is that if a Deed or Contract in Real Property is not reduced to writing and recorded (Constructive Notice), it is not enforceable in a court of law. I don't know if this is in every state, but several Western states have this as a Statutory Real Property law......I don't want to research the recital for every state, but a descent web search should produce the statue for your state and case law applicable.

I did not find your reference to Clinton and comparison to my comments to be very kind. Indeed, we are here to help each other, not belittle.......Thomas

Mr. Mullins, please help me to understand. If I leased a lakehouse as a second home, to be used on weekends, I could return to it one weekend and find the locks changed, my furnishings have gone to storage and someone else living there, because my lease was not recorded and is therefore unenforceable in a court of law even though I paid the agreed rental fee ? I’m not saying you are wrong, just that I do not understand it.

A month to month tenancy or even a yearly lease to rent a surface property where Constructive Notice of your tenancy is your obvious possession of the dwelling, and would be difficult to challenge. Your Rental Agreement or Lease Agreement need not be recorded to be valid or prove your right to possession if your Landlord is honest. What if your Landlord were to re-rent your lakehouse to several tenants concurrently, using the same rental date on the lease? Who would be the valid leaseholder/tenant? If the lease were recorded, then the court could easily decide priority of tenancy under statue. Otherwise, fight it out in court as to who was the original tenant. Although rare, this does happen.

A month to month tenancy is rarely recorded and is upheld in the courts under tenant/Landlord statues.

Mineral rights are another matter. It is not obvious if some crook is stealing your deeded minerals. As a mineral deed owner, you can see "Constructive Notice" only through the eyes of a Title Search. If you are a legit Lessee driller, you would record your lease for enforcement against stealing lessee rights by other Lessees (unrecorded) or midnight wildcat drillers or dishonest/ignorant mineral owners who might have multiple over laping leases. The oil and gas business is riddled with thieves willing to play all kinds of tricks in removing minerals before anyone catches on. Many do for years before they are discovered. The case for not recording a lease is weak and dangerous for both the Lessee and Lessor.

All real estate transfer deeds, Land Sale Contracts, Life Estates and anything that conveys or releases real estate interest must be recorded to be enforceable. Look-up on your web browser "constructive notice". I hope this makes some kind of common sense to you......Thomas

Why are you on the attack? I will not grace you with any further discussion on the matter. This is it! I must have really touched a nerve in your narrow mind. Let me ask…do you personally own any mineral rights whatsoever? Have you ever tried to enforce any un-recorded real estate documents? As a practical matter, you are correct in the law, but you miss by a mile the real life application of defending an un-recorded lease or deed…how shameful that you would use this forum to advance your gigantic ego…You are right and I am wrong…Dr. Thomas Mullins

Buddy Cotten said:

Dear Mr. Mullins,

Any luck in finding any statute? It's been over a week and no response from you,. I am still intrigued by your blanket statement. I looked all over goodle, wikie , lexis nexis, etc. Did I miss something that you saw? Incidentally, you said you taught law. Are you a member of a bar or just someone who teaches at a junior or community college?

Your references to your qualification were misleading at the least and not truthful at the best. Am I still not kind? Or are you something much worse?

I am still awaiting your answer to my question. You did not directly answer my direct question "Do you mean an unrecorded instrument is not enforceable between the parties? "

I suppose that I better not hold my breath.

Best wishes,

Buddy Cotten

I declare that this thread has been officially hijacked so... "Please Gentlemen", take this somewhere else.

Thank you.


No need to continue,...done. Thanks to all. I am still learning.


Buddy Cotten said:

Dear Bob,

I agree, You have the abillity as the thread starter to delete the whole thread, Our of idil curiosity, there is no Thonmas Mullins registerd in martindalehubbard,

Time to call it quits