Permit to conduct Geophysical Survey

I recently received a letter from a firm called ITM requesting we sign a permission permit for a second company called Vector to conduct geophysical across our property.

I live in College Station, Texas in a large lot subdivision (1.5 - 8 acre lots) and are only surface rights owners. One of the proposed receiver sites is shown to come right at the edge of my front yard which is within 40 ft. of my house and next to a large oak tree.

They are only offering a Flat Fee of $50.00 for my 3.96 acres and make no mention of covering damage to the property, lawn or house or content. Seems to be a pretty one sided proposal to me.

Other proposed receiver and source points are often within close proximity of my neighbors houses, garages and pool also.

The firm also stated that the recording devices will lay out on the ground for several several weeks once the survey is completed. The agreement also is stated to have a 18 month term.

As a surface landowner do I have the right to keep them off our property by not signing this permit request ?


Ronald S. Plott

You do not have to sign the form as written by the seismic company. In West Texas, the U.T. rate and damage schedule is $20 per acre and you should be paid more. Eighteen months is way too long - tell the landman to come back when they are sure that they will conduct the seismic. Even then, you should add the expiration date of the permit. You can add language that the seismic company is responsible for any and all associated damages resulting from the seismic work, and add in particular if the tree does not survive that the seismic company has to pay the cost of removing the tree, grinding the stump and putting in a new tree. You can specify that the seismic company can only walk onto your property to lay the line and not drive across your property or at the least must stay on your existing driveway. Add language that only one seismic test can be conducted by the named seismic company and that it is not a transferable right. You can demand that the seismic company give you advance notice of specified number of days so that you can watch and make sure that no one just drives around your property. Finally, prepare two originals of the seismic permit and require that someone in authority at the seismic company sign the form, noting his name and contact phone number. That way you are protected.