Back in the 1950's in Orange County, a number of adjacent mineral-rights property holders, to the tune of about 50-odd acres, had pooled their royalty rights together, so that oil drawn from any of them would proportionately reward the holders of each piece of the pool. Presumably, a contract was drawn up to do this, and I do have correspondence from the time and among the relevant parties making reference to this pooling contract.
Over a decade later in 1969, a very large pooled Unit was assembled, of several hundred acres or so, titled the Richfield East Dome Unit (REDU). As it happens, parts of the original pool are included in the REDU but other parts are not, including the one we own. But a couple portions of the original pool are in the REDU and we have obtained royalties for those two portions from the REDU from its founding onward.
But now, with the REDU still a (somewhat) producing unit (with recovery), both ends of the transaction are undergoing a change almost simultaneously. The REDU is in the process of being sold by its present operator Greka to another company, and my father wishes to transfer the property actually held by him to myself. A bit of legal advice I have been given states that this transfer from my father to me should be done with a Grant Deed, which sounds reasonable and I accept at face value, although it was originally deeded to my father from his father using a Quitclaim Deed.
Now, my questions:
1) It has been recommended that a title search be performed to verify ownership. The original Quitclaim Deed shows my father to have received it in 1985, and he has never let go of it (other than his intention to pass it on to me once the Grant Deed is ready to sign). The only possible adjustments to what area is referred to would be one edge which is delineated by a road which has since widened a bit and may have undergone some slight realignment. We have information documenting the various lessees of the lease, originally signed by Stern Realty representing us (and also who organized the original Pool) as the Lessor and with State Exploration (Statex) as the original Lessee, documents showing Statex to have sold the REDU to Geodyne in 1988 (which shortly thereafter merged into Samson), there is a small gap here in our record, but by 1992 it is in the hands of Arco, who sold it to Saba in 1993, who in turn sold it to Greka in 1999. Is there anything of relevance that a title search would bring out here, or what should I expect a title search to do for me?
2) Our original lease via Stern Realty to Statex is on record in the Orange County Records office, along with another Stern Realty to Statex lease of the relevant properties which are now included within the REDU, and which have been pooled together. Should one expect that the same set of records would contain the pooling contract as well? (I don't have any copy of that.)
3) Being unitized in 1969, the REDU has been in the secondary period since before it came into my father's hands, showing a secondary tract participation of 1.14554 for one tract we are pooled with and 2.18073 for the other tract we are pooled with. In view of the pooled nature of these properties, it is reasonable that we would get only a sliver of those royalties for the two tracts, the remainder being shared with the other original Pool members. The oldest statements we have from Geodyne/Samson shows a royalty rate of 0.0064975 (perhaps reflecting our share in the original Pool? And for which tract, or both?); Arco shows a royalty rate of 0.00139233 for each tract, Saba shows a royalty rate of 0.00003238 for each of a pair of "accounts" for one of the tracts (totaling 0.00006476), and a royalty rate of 0.00006163 for each of a pair of "accounts" for the other tract (totaling 0.00012326). Greka paid the same rates as Saba, except that the second tract is unified into a single account with a royalty of 0.00012326. What other pieces would it take to explain how these figures were calculated, such that they can be verified by the new buyer of the REDU?
4) The Quitclaim Deed by which my father received the property from his father also mentioned the original lease to Statex via Stern Realty, giving the date and information to find it in the Records office in Orange County. Should that be included in the new Grant Deed to be generated to transfer it to me? Might some additional information of this sort also be relevant and worth listing on the Deed, such as any Pooling information (if discoverable)?
At this point, I will be glad of any helpful information, or even partial answers, thanks in advance!