Making sense of lease/sale rates seen in news articles

I'm trying to make sense of the sale rates reported in the news when an operator sells its holdings. The more I think about it the more I think apples aren't being compared to apples when reading one article to the next. For example, rates in different articles may refer to an operator selling its leased non-producing acreage, or an operator selling its leased producing acreage, or an operator selling its mineral ownership if it actually owned the minerals outright. It seems like a lot of press releases, news articles, etc. don't always tell you which of these were being sold/transferred?

To make matters more complex, wouldn't it be true that unless an operator owns the minerals outright instead of leases them, the sale price per acre can't include the total value of mineral interests in the ground?...because the company usually only has rights to 75% of the minerals, the other 25% going to the mineral owner. In such a case, should you add 25% to the reported sale price per acre if you're trying to determine the total value of minerals underground?

This is kind of a complex question and I'm not even sure I'm asking it right. But hopefully someone gets what I'm saying and can bring some clarity. Thanks!

The operator is generally selling its leasehold interests which includes the operating wells and the undrilled acreage, the infrastructure for the wells, the leases and all the costs related to assembling the leases. Unless you own a huge ranch, your minerals are a small part of the package. An operator will have assembled 1000’s of leases to create a large block of acreage with 100’s of potential well locations. Landmen had to be paid for title research and lease negotiations. Expensive wells had to be drilled to prove the acreage value for investment. Pipelines had to be constructed to carry gas and that requires right-of-ways from surface owners. And the buyer will study the package to make sure all the leases are not expiring too soon before they can drill. Not a valuable lease if buyer has to compete for a new lease. To distill down the transaction price, these articles talk about total acreage under lease and then calculate the sales price per acre. It would be more accurate to value all the parts separately, but that information is not available for an instant news article. Consider the part of the report about the existing bbl per day of production and number of producing wells in the trade and think about the cost per well. Finally, most of these equity-funded companies which assemble and sell out own few, if any, minerals. There are exceptions such as when BP sold to Apache.

Thank you TennisDaze. All so interesting and useful for mineral owners to know. What got me thinking about it was reading how rates in the Permian Basin have gotten as high as $60,000 per nma, yet the rates offered to us mineral owners are substantially less. I guess the higher rates make sense when you take into account everything being transferred in the sales reported in the news. But it sounds like those reported rates don’t help us mineral owners in determing the value of our mineral interests?