New division order in liberty county, texas

We inherited mineral rights from our father back in 2012 with a few small-producing wells in place. Our father never shared information about any of his business so we are not educated at all in what we have and what to do with what we have. I plan on making a one or two-day trip to the Liberty County Courthouse to dig up all the deeds and any past and current lease agreements on these different tracts of land. Also, the deed that was drawn up in the estate settlement has many typos in the legal descriptions, etc. I am hoping we can just amend the deed without having to go through our attorney and stepmother for signatures because it was a horrible experience.

In December 2014, my brothers and I received a Division Order for a new well on the same tract of land as two other wells which explains why we didn't receive a new lease agreement with the producer. We each received our first royalty check on 12/31/14 for $391.00. Does the first check give any indication of future royalty income from the well? From my reading, as soon as production starts, it also begins the depletion. Is there any hope of larger royalties to come? I don't want to get my hopes up, so the more educated I am, the more prepared I will be as to what is to come.

The Well name is BECI Levigne #1, N.E. Tank Farm Prospect, Liberty County, Texas. The legal description is: 170.00 acres, more or less, out of the H. & T. C.R.R. Company Survey, No. 174, the C. Aldrich Survey, A-768, and Austin Abshier Survey, A-559, Liberty County; and being more particularly described in that certain pooled Unit Desgination for Ballard Exploration Company, Inc. Levigne No. 1 Gas Unit, dated September 15, 2014, and recorded under File No. 2014014798 in the Official Public Records of Liberty County, Texas.

Thanks for any help out there.

Deanna Gearinger

P.S.: What would be the best reading material for me to read to learn about all of this royalty business as we did inherit mineral rights to about 25-30 tracts of land in Liberty County, a few in Chambers County and one in Jefferson County.

Thanks again.

Hi Deanna -

I am sorry for your loss of your Father, but you and your brothers are very fortunate. Liberty County, Texas, has several very productive formations all through it. And Jefferson and Chambers aren't too shabby either.

One thing to note is, your family may own additional lands or mineral and royalty interests than those you are already aware of. If your Father wasn't in the habit of writing things down, there's no telling what all your family owns.

You are correct that wells decline - sometimes steeply over the course of the first year before they "settle". The upside is, wells can remain productive for years. There are wells in East Texas that have been producing since the early 1900's.

You should also be aware that first checks are usually two or three month's worth of royalties, so I doubt you will be receiving anything close to the $391 in the future, at least not for that particular well.

If your Father didn't leave any files, what you will need to do is search the Grantee/Reverse Records in the County Clerk's Office to see what he acquired by Deeds or Assignments and then the Grantor/Direct Records to see what he sold and then reconcile what your find to determine what he owned when he passed away.

Documents where he sold something will have to be reviewed carefully to determine if he reserved any mineral interests or royalty interests in the lands conveyed. As to what his actual mineral interest in a given tract is will take much more research (possibly as far back as to 1895 or further), but you should be able to fairly quickly set up a set of files to get you started. I'd suggest one file for each tract of land.

And remember to check the Probate Records for anything he might have inherited.

If you are unable to find copies of the actual leases that are presently effecting the lands, you should at least be able to locate a Memorandum Of Lease. Whoever the Lessee is (the company is the Lessee - your Father would have been the Lessor) should be willing to provide you with a copy of the actual Lease and any Division Orders, maps and Title Information they have in their files.

If you are not familiar with Legal Descriptions, I will be happy to help you draw them out and locate the properties on a set of maps (a picture is worth a thousand words).

I can also help you find out about any wells your lands are included in and maybe help you find a website or two that has Liberty, Jefferson and Chambers Counties' records online.

You are in for a steep learning curve over the next few months and years, but I'm sure the great group of helpful Boys and Girls on The Forum will be happy to help.

And remember: There are no stupid questions.

As to materials to read over, I have papers and articles and examples that I use for training Field Landmen (we perform Public Records Research for the Oil and Gas Companies). Beyond that, there are classes and seminars you can attend. And The National Association of Royalty Owners and similar groups should have reference materials you can download. Beyond all that, it's all a kind of learn by example / hands on teaching type industry.

It's called Land Title Research. The people that do it professionally are Landmen (whether a man or a woman - there are no Landwomen). Be careful, it's addictive.

If you would like me to send you some things to read over, just let me know. You sent me your email address back in September 2012.

Charles Emery Tooke III

Certified Professional Landman

Fort Worth, Texas