No Record of Mineral Lease

We inherited mineral rights in Williams County, North Dakota from my mother’s side of the family. For some reason, we are unable to locate any record of a signed lease for the mineral rights on one of the properties with a producing well. We wrote to XTO (Exxon-Mobil) asking that they provide us with a copy of the lease for our records (assuming such a lease existed). They never acknowledged the request or responded in any manner.

We are confused about this particular subsection of our mineral rights. We have leases with XTO for the other properties. But, there is no lease that we have been able to find for the property in question. My question is do these oil companies have to execute a mineral lease or its equivalent (for non-responsive owners) for the right to extract oil from tracts where mineral owners have rights? Does anyone know if these leases expire and have to be renewed once the oil company starts to pay royalties?

Thanks for any advice that might be offered

In North Dakota, they can force pool if no lease was obtained. You might try again via certified mail return receipt requested to get the information as to whether you were leased or force pooled. Keep copies of everything that you send. If the original lease or force pool has production, then the lease or force pool is kept active until production ceases.

Dear Ms. Barnes,

Thank you for the information and suggestion. We will follow up with a certified letter to XTO to see if we can find out if a mineral lease exists, or if it was part of a forced pool. It is quite possible that my mother or the attorney-in-fact (my brother) missed a letter or failed to respond to an offer to lease the property. However, it is odd given that XTO executed leases for all the other properties where we have an interest.

Again, thank you for the advice.

Just a heads up. Unfortunately, if you are dealing with Exxon/XTO, it will take several months to even get a response and far longer to resolve any issues. That is par for the course.

Thank you for the heads up. I am not surprised that XTO and Exxon are so slow to respond. Any company that names their executive suite the “God Pod” must have a pretty dim view of requests from mere mortals.