No lease on land with wells

We own mineral rights on Montrail County ND land. Our last lease expired in 2011. There are currently 12 wells on the land and we know it is producing. What is our status as mineral rights owners without a lease?

I'd assume your lease is most likely Held By Production (HBP). If drilling commenced prior to the expiration of the lease, this would be the case. Otherwise, someone would surely have contacted you by now to lease. If you are an heir to someone who passed and title has not been conveyed you may have royalties you are entitled to sitting in suspense until the title is cleared. There are a number of possible scenarios. If you have more info, such as legal description T/R/S, I'm sure many on the board would be willing to help out, including myself.

Thanks, as I gather is typical, I left out critical information. The lease expired the same month the wells went in, I think. My mother received no notification of extension. Yes, we are in process of probating the parents' wills in North Dakota. My cousins, who do have an active lease, have been told there are royalties in suspense. My question is how the lack of a lease impacts my brother's and my royalties, if at all.

Also, I just read that it is possible to search the State Treasurer's website for "suspensed funds", but didn't see any way to do that in a quick search a few minutes ago.

The legal description is T156N-R93W-Sec 14 and 15... altho there are about a dozen wells impacting this location, and are horizontal, I think.

I will assume you are an heir of Ione? This lease would still be effective. It had an expiration date of 11/26/11. Many of the wells were spud late Sept/early Oct. Once the estate is probated and title is satisfied by the operators your funds should be released.

wow! Thank you for such a quick response. I'm so impressed... I fight tooth and nail to wade thru the online information and would have no idea how to find what you did... I did wonder if the lease was still active, but mom never received any notice of continuation, which I thought would have happened. (Yes, Ione was my mother)

So, a second question. The wells all seem to be in "inactive" and "confidential" status. Is there a time limit to the "confidential" status? A time when the company has to release more information about what they are doing? Would the landowner know, just because he's there?

Thanks so much!

The true confidential status begins when the operator requests it, usually around the time they reach total depth, after the operator requests confidential status the time period is 6 months. Before the operator requests confidential status, all permits to drill are considered confidential wells until the permit expires or is cancelled.

Thanks RW Kennedy.... it's a steep learning curve! One question/answer leads to another.

So, when they reach total depth does the oil stop? Or is reaching total depth simply an engineering issue?

Total depth is just where they decide to stop drilling, often not where they planned to stop drilling. Then the well has to be completed, usually fracking, then they flow it back to capture what frack fluid they can. Then the well starts producing. So many wells are using man made ceramic "sand" that isn't real expensive but they use so much of it, I think they are trying to centrifuge it back out for reuse, whatever didn't get stuck in the fractures of the well to hold them open.

very clear... thanks.

I'm doing a lot of reading this week... and starting to recognize terms, at least.