As land owner I signed a gas lease allowing for drilling although I only owned 1/16 of the mineral rights in the State of Texas. There has been no drilling for over 15 years although they never pulled the well. Now they want to start drilling again. I was told years ago that all the mineral rights would revert to the land owner if the wells were not producing after a certain number of years. Is this true. Does the drilling company have the right to come on my property now without a new signed lease?
The only state I know where this is true is Louisiana. The only thing that expires is the lease you signed. A lot of times if a company doesn’t drill within 3 or 5 years of signing a lease, the lease will expire. Just because the lease expires does not mean you lose your mineral rights. The only state where the mineral rights revert back to the original land owner is in Louisiana.
It’s not totally uncommon for Operators to attempt to claim that a lease is still in effect. This is a common argument in the oil field, especially where very low production is claimed to “hold” a lease. Explore your state regulatory agency to check the production history of the well. This will give you a starting point. www.mineralweb.com has a link titled something like “determining your well’s production”.
Only in Louisiana do mineral rights revert to the surface owner. Generally a lease is for 3-5 years, so it is doubtful that a lease is in force now. If you still own the minerals, a new lease will be required. The only exception is if the mineral rights are held by existing production - if so, you will have been receiving checks.