This is gonna be a long one…Background first with questions to follow.
1957 Deed of 210 total acres:
A to B-70 acres and B gets 1/2 mineral interest C gets1/4 and D gets 1/4
A to C-70 different acres and C gets 1/2 mineral interest B gets1/4 and D gets 1/4
A to D-70 different acres and D gets 1/2 mineral interest B gets1/4 and C gets 1/4
*Each party got 70 acres with ½ MI and ¼ MI in each of the other two’s 70 acres
*B is my Great Grandpa
2000 Will: B died and left all to wife (we will call her Z)
2006 Deed: Z died and left land to Y (no mention of MI so I would assume it was included since it wasn’t excluded)
2008 Deed: Y died and left land to X (still no mention of MI; however her will referenced receiving over $15K in royalty checks.
2011 Deed: X died and left the land to me and my two brothers (X did receive 1 RI check)
So now we have 70 acres with MI not sure how much, would assume ½ per the way the deeds trace. Not sure about the other ¼ MI on the other 2 parcels.
Last lease on record dated 1993 between Operator ABC and Heir B and wife Z. ABC sold lease to DEF around 2005, DEF sold it to GHJ around 2008. None of these sales/purchases are found at the courthouse. I have spoke to all three Operators. ABC says he retained his mineral rights upon the sale to DEF and would fax me records of this. (nothing received to
date) DEF says nothing about retaining rights and doesn’t remember much about the lease or even where he might have a copy. GHI said they can’t find the lease copy and will have to go to the court for a copy and will send it to me. This was after 2 weeks of me leaving messages with them and not getting a call back. In addition the courts don’t have the lease he claims is there. So I am assuming the 1993 lease is the active one.
Oil Tax Appraiser office says most recent records arefrom 2000 and show 16 mineral holders. We are not talking big money; 2 wells; 1 oil and 1disposal. Not currently producing but I don’t know if they are really even trying. Neighbors have about 6 wells all producing.
Sorry for the long story… Now for the questions:
- How do I find out who the 16 MI holders are?
- Can MI be stolen?
- Could it be pooled? How do I find out and if so what does that mean?
- Who can negotiate a lease if there are 16 holders?
- Why might the current operator be avoiding us?
- How can the ABC operator claim MI and now be a holder?
- Should we send a “non-production” letter and void the lease?
- How would we get another operator out there?
- Would they have to drill a new well?
- My dad’s royalty check was for a 16th, which makes sense being there are 16 holders, but seeing the deed trace shows ½ interest how is that lost or is it?
- Any other info would be great!!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read and hopefully answering my questions.