Surface Rights Agreement

I am hearing conflicting information so ... can anyone shed light or clarify ...

When determining use of water regarding the surface agreement ... Does one ask for BOTH payments for water used AND that any water wells that are drilled be left useable for the surface owner OR is it customary to settle for one or the other, but not both?

We are in the midst of what may become a 4 year "extreme" drought in our part of Beckham County. Our position is that we already have water for cattle on this place. And that if the oil company wants to drill for water and they find it, they must pay for the use of that water. They argue that the well will be drilled at their expense and left for us to utilize ... so therefore they don't need to pay for the use.

Thanks in advance for your replies.


When you sell water from a pond that you have built, then you are paid, usually it's so much a barrel. Make sure it's electronic metered. If they are drilling a H well it usually takes about 100,000 b of water and fracking is about 3 times that much. Some wells take less.

When the oil company drills a water well and agrees to leave it for your use after they have completed drilling a well, usually they do not pay as they had the expensive of drilling the water well. Be sure that your agreement states they will leave the water well cased. They usually will not leave any pump. Also, they will have the right to use this well for more than drilling of one well unless your agreement states otherwise.

Now, if they are using a well that you paid to have drilled, then they would pay. Usually they will not pay for both. But, with the drought, they have had to haul water a long ways, so anything is possible.

Thank-you for the reply, Virginia, very helpful!