I have just discovered that a well will be going in on a section just below mine. It will come up thru my section. My minerlal right lease on this tract of land runs out on December 13th,and reading the information that the drilling company has stated that they will start drilling the well on Januaray 1st…my question is are my chances for a new lease now gone.?
I haven't a clue where your lease is located, the size of your acreage or what company is drilling, so my best guess as to an answer to your question would be:
If your lease is with the same company that will become the well operator, it is likely that they know your lease expiration date so they will make sure to commence drilling by December 13th. Your lease may contain language to the effect that they must commence drilling operations by a certain date, using a rig capable of drilling to total depth, etc. If your lease contains no specific language to that effect, it becomes a crapshoot.
If your lease is with a different company than the one who plans to drill, again it is likely that the drilling company knows your lease will expire but maybe they want it to expire so they can cut their own deal with you and thus gain a greater working interest in the wells. In this scenario, your existing leasing company would probably have contacted you by now with some kind of lowball offer to get you to sign a lease extension. Occasionally an expiring lease does fall through the cracks without the companies knowing about it but not likely.
If your lease is not already held by production and does indeed expire before they commence drilling, then you are totally free to negotiate a new lease.
Hate to say it but you probably have a lot of homework to do between now and then plus you may need an attorney to look at your lease and see exactly what it says, along with making sure you have a clear title.
I may be wrong but I think all they have to do is bring in a cat and build a pad and that would hold the lease until Jan.