NM Eddy County Lithium and Brine

I posted questions years ago re my family’s oil/gas interest in Eddy County and I really appreciated the helpful responses. I’m back again seeking info on the legal status of lithium ownership in brine/produced water in NM. Our fam’s oil/gas is now under lease with a large company. The lease language is old (from many years ago, carried forward into current lease) and lithium is of course not mentioned. My understanding is brine/produced water from oil/gas production can contain not only lithium but other minerals of value. I’d be grateful to be more informed on what position oil companies are taking re ownership of brine and its minerals, and what lessors are doing re brine ownership (and profits from brine) these days.

A second related question is what rights a surface-only owner (who sold the mineral rights) might have re lithium.

Many thanks for your input!

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Lin your first problem is you are on this forum requesting a legal opinion as to ownership of produced quantities. This will require documentation back to the original severance deed in order to determine any ownership. The old OGL may not apply to these produced products. Talk to an oil and gas attorney for general guidance and cost estimate for an opinion. If you need an attorney in NM, I can get you some suggestions.

Hi James, thanks for taking time to reply. Maybe I need to clarify my question. I’m not looking for legal advice; in fact I’m a very long-time lawyer and have done quite a bit of research on this topic. Jurisdictions other than NM show some court decisions addressing who owns produced water, and I found a few good legal articles on the topic of lithium extraction and ownership. What I’m hoping to learn from other NM mineral owners and knowledgeable professionals is whether brine and lithium (and other mineral) ownership has come up in any context in NM, what position the oil/gas cos are taking if any, and whether any trends have become apparent. All input much appreciated!