Responsiblities of Non-participating Mineral Rights Holders to Prove Title

Hi, we own nonparticipating mineral rights. After wells were put in (but before production), the driller sold the wells to a large oil company. When we learned that those with executive mineral rights were getting checks, we wrote asking about ours. We got back a "who are you?" despite having provided affidavits of heirship, genealogy info, etc. for the original driller. Over months now, we have had to order and supply 5 or more death certificates along with all kinds of genealogical information to again prove who the heirs are. Is this normal? Are mineral holders always required to supply all this information? I'm sure there are many people who are not skilled at figuring out how to get all these documents or information (or able to afford it). I have asked about the RRC enforcing the responsibilities of the oil company (timeliness and not requiring undue burden) and was basically told that the RRC did not have enforcement in that arena. I can't believe that some agency in Texas is not regulating these matters. Any guidance is welcome.

E M,

Sorry to hear about the frustration. It is possible that when the driller sold to the large oil company, they did not provide everything as far as title. Is what you have provided complete, meaning clearly connects the title chain from your ancestors into you/your family? Death certificates will not necessarily vest clear title into you, and you may need to provide more.

I would first confirm that you have provided sufficient title to vest you with ownership and record those in Reeves Co., TX. You may need a competent landman, or title attorney to assist you.

Once you have confirmed that they have the correct instruments and complete title, you may need an attorney to send a demand letter citing the relevant Texas Natural Resource statute (I really cannot remember off the top of my head), which will start a clock for this to be resolved. Receipt of a demand letter that complies with that particular statute results in heavy ramifications if they do not remedy within the statutory time period.

So, I'd first confirm that they have all relevant documents which demonstrates ownership. If you confirm you have provided clear title to them, and they are still monkeying around with you, then it may be time to hire an attorney. Those demand letters are pretty serious business if they are in the wrong.

I hope this helps,


It is the responsibility of the mineral or NPRI owner to ensure that his title is clear by the proper recording of documents in the deed records. If the estates were probated anywhere, then you can record the probate records. If not, then you need to take other steps. You cannot simply record death certificates because that is not evidence of who was entitled to inherit and in what percentages. The oil company needs documented proof of heirship in the county records. That way you can provide evidence of chain of title to any future lessees.

Thank you so much, Mike and TennisDaze! I really love this forum.