When I purchased some mineral rights in 2007 there were 3 parcels that were currently under one lease agreement including all 3 parcels with no Pugh Clause or a Continuous Drilling Clause. The lease was set to expire in May of 2010 (I was hoping it would). Before the lease term expired the lessee (Chesapeake) farmed out each of the 3 parcels to 3 different oil companies. One well was drilled and now all 3 parcels are held by production. Two of the parcels, held by 2 different oil companies, have not been drilled on. So, I have one parcel being held by production from a well drilled and the other 2 parcels are held forever by production by companies that have not done anything to enjoy/earn their status as being held by production.
So, my question is: What, if any, recourse do I have to get these 2 parcels released back to me?
I have heard of a "covenant to develop" that may be useful to get the leases released. The one well was drilled in 2010 (just a few months before the lease was set to expire). I have been sitting here for 6 years and no development has occurred, when I could have had wells drilled or could have leased the minerals for two 3-year terms. This has cost me a ton of money considering that the 2 parcels total 240 NMA's and an average (?) going rate of $3000/ac for the signing bonus.
Any thoughts ???