Right of way payment

I was contacted by a company who wants to put a right of way on my property. Right of way will be located at the edge of the lots and it will be approx. 94 rods (640' long x 40' wide). They want to bury 2 pipelines with an option to bury 1 more in the future. izes up to 16" each. How much will it be a fair charge to allow them the right of way? thanks kindly, Gabe

Just my opinion, Don't do it. Pipelines leak and could ruin all your property.

Thank you very much Elaine. Also the contract did not mention damages in case of rupture of the pipeline or specified the type of commodity going in each of the pipes. Too vague and in favor to them not the owner.

If the company is a common carrier with eminent domain power to condemn then you will not have a choice. Pipelines are all over this part of Ward County, carrying oil, natural gas and produced water. You should be paid for each line, bases on size. For idea of rates, see Rate and Damage Schedule of University Lands. This is not a residential area and you need about 100 acres per cow for grazing. You may want to consult an attorney about the terms of the easement. It should not be permanent, but expire upon cessation of use, as one example.

thanks kindly for the advise Tennis. I will consult with an attorney to be safe. cheers.

Law360, Houston (March 31, 2014) - After losing several battles over the legal authority of energy companies to seize private property for pipelines, Texas landowners have found new footing in their war against midstream developers by convincing juries to award top dollar for easements.

Texas landowners in three recent cases have presented evidence during condemnation proceedings of massive losses in property value purportedly caused by pipeline easements, allowing them to score verdicts as much as 25 times higher than what they had been offered by energy companies prior to trial.

Pipeline companies in Texas are facing new procedural hurdles that could make it more difficult to claim they have the right to condemn privately owned land, as shown in two recent state appellate opinions that shed light on how to qualify as a common carrier, experts say.


My comments based on personal experience:

Beware of the operators/contractors/subcontractors who use your property as a road to access neighboring properties.

Remember to request a copy of the courthouse filed copy and survey. It would be wise to stand "firm" with making all field personnel stay within the easement boundaries. You may be faced with the possibility that all sorts of field personnel might drink water from your outdoor faucets, let their dogs run loose, fish out of your pond, take your petrified wood stones, pick vegetables from your garden, and commit other intrusions of privacy that may make you feel violated. If this happens, they are trespassing. This should be reported to the county sheriff's office. These people have no concern for you or your land.

Good luck,


315-LandownersPipelineEasement_ROWReference_ProtectYourLand.doc (51.5 KB)

Thanks a lot Pat. Great piece of advise. So it is better to stay put and simply if they insist to run the pipeline thru my property take them to court. I would have to consider the cost to litigate and if my lawyer will collect at the end of the legal battle or require up front payments to defend me at court. cheers & thanks again. Gabe

No Gabe. I did not advise you to stay put and take them to court. I simply sent you things and guidelines that you may want to consider when and IF you decide to negotiate an easement. And, IF you decide to hire an attorney, I hope that he may negotiate in your best interests.

Good luck,


thanks again Pat. If they persist I will hire an attorney to negotiate. cheers.

Re: Surface Access Fees
While researching through my old Forum files of "important things to remember when dealing with O&G matters, I came across an article from Mr. Buddy Cotten, a well-known Minerals's Manager on the Forum. This information may prove to be useful in your negotiations. The following is a condensed version of his BLOG: (You can either stand your ground with these people or pay an attorney to do it for you -- I know which way I would go.)

The first time that I EVER heard of a Surface Access Fee was when we wanted to lay a line over Temple Inland Land. They would not let us set foot on the property, not even to look around, until there was an agreement in place. No fences cut, waste picked up and disposed of and anything else they could cram in a form.

When pipeline companies start off a negotiation threatening eminent domain, make sure that you get a Surface Access Fee, with a free copy of the survey, location of indian burial mounds and anything else they might stumble across.

The pipeline company has to take you to court to enforce eminent domain, A surface access agreement has NOTHING to do with eminent domain. I told one permit agent our fee per acre and he almost choked. He said that they just wanted to look around. My response was that you just wanted to commit criminal trespass. I told him that we would stand our ground and if that meant us defending ourselves, then come and take it. They caved within days. We also set the tone for future negotiations.

HOWEVER, with a Surface Access Agreement, you maximize your asset value since it is a totally different animal than a pipeline ROW. Ask your oil and gas attorney if they have such an agreement, or a trusted mineral manager. If the pipeline company takes it upon themselves to ignore you and enter into a bad faith trespass, seize their property and hold them until the sheriff arrives.

Good luck,

Not sure I can add too much to what has been said. With the right contract, and indemnification that runs to whoever operates the pipeline, I wouldn't mind them doing a deal. Usually they are buried below surface, and aren't obtrusive. However, I have been pretty aggressive as to rate per rod, but you won't get rich on a row. Also, if you use the Rates & Damage Schedule, be sure to remember that the rates for pipelines are for 10 or 20 year periods. If you choose to monitor this for the next 10 years, you could use the same rates or a little more, but since I am absentee to most of the properties, I don't want to follow each line for a decade to renegotiate a fee. So the best is to pick a number much higher than those in the schedule for perpetual. Also, as to perpetual, add a clause that 6 months of inactivity in the pipeline, voids the easement and the company needs to remediate the damage.

thanks for the info James.

Dear Mr. Leal,

You do not have 94 rods. A rod is a linear measurement equal to, among other things, 16.5 feet. It is also equal to one pole, one perch or 1/4 chain. 640 feet equals 38.7878 rods, which is what you have.


Buddy Cotten

Thanks kindly Mr Cotten for the correction. plus 40'(for proposed easement)=2.42424 rods, correct?

Mr. Leal,

No, no additional roddage. A craftily prepared ROW agreement would have a temporary workspace -- 40 feet for example, but shrink down to the pipe width after construction.


Buddy Cotten

thanks again for the clarification Mr. Cotten.