Obtaining Gas Royalties from Family Forgotten Mineral Rights

Is it possible to obtain royalties from gas wells located in a section listed on a family deed where they retained mineral rights, but the minerals were forgotten and not passed down to the heirs?

You should first check the Unclaimed Property Division of Oklahoma Tx Commission to see if you or any of your family members are listed. If you care to list the legal descriptions, section, township & range someone can most likely help with well names, spacing & production information.

Yes, it is possible. The operator will likely ask for the probated wills or affidavits of heirship that show who owns it now and pay accordingly. Congratulations!

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@KyndallLeone, ok, yes, it’s possible, but it’s also possible that no royalties are due. Just because some wells were, or are, in the same section doesn’t mean that they necessarily ever produced or that the well spacing orders included the owned areas. It might be wise to investigate a little more before re-opening a probate or taking other legal actions.

Absolutely, Pete.

Cdav, feel free to reach out if you want further help. Welcome to the community.

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Thank you, Kyndall!

Could you tell me more about well spacing orders?

Here is a good article about Oklahoma well spacing orders: Spacing Order Information.

You are right that well spacing will vary per well. Producing formation and type of well play into how those are formed. Whether a single well can make a whole section HPB depends on the terms of the lease. If there is no pugh clause or similar terms that release certain portions of the leased acreage, then as long as there is production in paying quantities, the entire leased acreage is HBP and the lease is active (in general terms, as there are exceptions).

I think what you are asking about the lease negotiation is that you can negotiate well spacing like a royalty. There are some terms that you can negotiate to be included in your lease that affects well spacing/unitizing to some extent, but the way wells are spaced is more dependent on state law and geology (preventing waste).

I also wanted to add clarity to the earlier issue of mineral interest passing to heirs. You would likely not need to re-open a probate or take any legal action to have the interest effectively pass to the heirs. Just because it was not deeded or listed in the inventory, does not mean it was excluded from passing to heirs. Wills contain a “rest and residue” statement that dictate how mineral interests (not otherwise described) will pass. Once you determined that you do own in an active well, you would likely only need to obtain certified copies of the probate proceedings or AOH (already filed) to get into pay with an operator. There are exceptions, but without knowing your situation, I could be convoluting the issue.

If I have misunderstood your question or if you have other questions, feel free to reach out.


The Final Decree must have a ‘Residual’ clause to be pertinent to the minerals in question.

From what I understand, NMA’s can be calculated based upon the deeds and an affidavit of heirship listing those NMAs can be filed with the courthouse.

Does the Final Decree contain a residual clause, or rest & residue clause? If not, and there being no Will, the FD is not valid to transfer title to the heirs. Affidavits of Heirship are not vesting documents and don’t provide marketable title.

It depends on the laws of the state that the minerals are in. Probates are required in some states, Affidavit of Heirship in others.

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And your original post states Woodward County, Oklahoma. Good Luck.

Todd, thanks for your input.

@Cdav, here are a few links that might help track down the well spacing orders in Oklahoma.
https://oktap.tax.ok.gov/OkTAP/web?link=PUBLICPUNLKP This is the production site, but also has a Lease Legal tab.

https://public.occ.ok.gov/OGCDWellRecords/CustomSearch.aspx?SearchName=OilandGasWellRecordsSearch&dbid=0&repo=OCC&cr=1 One of several links to the oil and gas well scanned document images. Look for document 1000 (permit) or 1002A (completion) for info on size of well lease or spacing order no.


A link to help find documents by order no.

Don’t be too surprised if operator’s ask you for title chain information…hope this helps, in case you haven’t already found these links.

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Thank you, Pete. This is great information! You mentioned title chain information. What does a title chain need to include? Does it need to be completed by a landman or can I draw one up myself? Thanks!

@Cdav, you don’t absolutely need a landman, but landmen can be very helpful if it turns out you need to provide title chain information. The mineral rights you have often depend on previous sales or assignments, so having the information helps you understand what you have.

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Pete, I found the completion report and the permit. What do I look for? Apparently, the well is located in the NW4 of a section and our mineral ownership is in NE4 of the section.

Pete, additionally, the completion report states in the spacing section: 640 acres. This encompasses the entire section, correct? Thanks again for your input.

@Cdav, the 640 acre spacing likely indicates that the well is spaced for the whole section. The permit may have a plat or map of the well, or sometimes not. The completion report will usually list the spacing order in the fine print maybe on the 2nd page. If it looks like you should be included, then you have a conversation starter with the well operator as to what you need to get into pay status.

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If the property is producing, ask the company what is required to get the minerals into pay status for yourself. If provided, you will have a roadmap. In Oklahoma, a probate is generally required for non-trust owned properties.

This post is not legal, tax or investment advice. Reading or responding to this post does not create an attorney/client relationship.