Slope Co. ND Oil Questions

Thanks in advance to anyone who has time to answer some questions, or just enlighten me.

Straight to the point, I was willed 1280 acres a few years back. This seems like a large sum, so I'm not sure if this is common. Is this even possible? I read in a topic on this forum that the state keeps 1/2. Perhaps I just took that out of context. Secondly, is there anything that needs to be done beyond the recorded will to assure that the said rights are infact under my name?

Off base from the legal standpoint... How viable is it that any exploration will commence at the North Eastern edge of Slope County? I am fairly sure it sits on a good spot above the Tyler Formation. I see quite a few dry holes via the NDIC GIS map, though most of those were drilled many years ago. Is there better hope with current technology to acheive an economical well in the same areas?

Thanks, again!


The state may have 50% of the rights but that isn’t a forgone conclusion. There can be a difference in whether your acres are net or gross. If you have half and the state has half you would have 640 net acres of 1280 gross acres. If other family members other entities have claims to fractional interests in the 1280 your net can shrink dramatically. It takes a title search to find out just how much you own. Probate of the will or estate may need to be done in N.D. if it was done in another state. If a will or estate probate granted you the minerals there should have been a deed of distribution. There may not have been one, but that would have been sloppy. This deed of distribution should have been recorded in the county in which the minerals lie. That would be your title to the minerals. [ it is also an easy way for an interested party to find you ] The technology of oil production has grown and is still growing by leaps and bounds. The oil co’s in N.D. are the bullfrog that swallowed the bumble bee right now. It’s all they can do to tie down the land they have already leased or face having to lease it again at much higher rates than last time. If they have not turned their attention to you yet, you may have to give them a little time. I’d use this time to get my title in good order, make sure my deed with my updated adress was was on file, and study up on what leasing means , how it’s done , what your lease needs to contain for your protection. Much better to know ahead of time.

Sounds like kennedy is giving you good advice.

I will say that, since you seem to be a "newbie" at this, the "common" acreage in the big western states is one section, which is 640 acres. So you were willed 2 sections. (Sounds like a lot, but is not from the standpoint of ranching!)

Yeah, you need to find out whether you were given surface rights or mineral rights, or both. The will should state this but may not, so you need to research this, maybe with a real estate lawyer or start with the attorney who drew up the will for the decedent. He should know. Then, if the will was probated in the state of ND, there should be a legal record in the ND county where the land is located OR perhaps the county where the decedent resided (or both) that shows that you own the surface and and/or mineral rights. I hope the will told you the legal description, like Township, Range, Section.

My properties are in Texas and New Mexico so I don't know much about other states' legal proceedings, but some stuff is similar to all states.

Good hunting and learning on this.

Thank you both for the replies. It seems everything is indeed in order. I was left only the Mineral Rights in Township 135, Range 98, Sections 8 (West 1/2), 9 and 10 (West 1/2). Would be nice to see a lease, but I'm not holding my breath, yet.


I am intrigued by the location, size of your acreage and the dry holes in the vicinity as a source of geologic information about your property.

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Thank you, Gary. Perhaps I will be contacting you soon.

Another question;

Does having acreage in a larger sum turn off Oil Co.'s from wanting to lease with the owner? My thinking being that they would be worried about said owner trying to hold for more money and not lease under target terms.

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. The oil co’s don’t own enough mineral acres of their own. They must lease yours to make money. The landmans job is to lease acres, cheap if he can, but if they cost more they still need the acres. Without acres to produce, oil co’s are out of business.

Thank you, again, r w.

I suppose that, with the acres co's already have invested in, I shouldn't put too much hope in a lease arriving anytime soon. Patience has never been one of my strong points.


The minerals of value to others, if any, have been there a long time. Be patient. Perhaps it is time for you to attract a proper lessee who will find out what you have at its risk.

Gary Hutchinson

Chris Schmit said:

Thank you, again, r w.

I suppose that, with the acres co's already have invested in, I shouldn't put too much hope in a lease arriving anytime soon. Patience has never been one of my strong points.

I see no reason why you can’t lease. Oil co’s have leased land repeatedly for long periods. It keeps their competition from gaining the acres. They have about as much as they can drill right now, but they will need acres in the future. They need to lease them ahead of time or risk someone else leasing them. I wouldn’t expect the drilling to start for at least 2 years though, possibly closer to the end of the third year, if then. I believe as people have said that the drilling is moving according to lease expiration dates.