Surprise Valley Leasing Update - 09/14/2023

Surprise Valley has been busy after the Labor Day holiday, recording lease memos that add about 19,000 gross acres to their lease holdings in Leon County, bringing their total Leon/Freestone acreage to about 92,000 acres. Here is a map of the current leasing locations:

Surprise Valley is leasing for Comstock, and these latest filings brings Comstock’s total acreage in Leon, Robertson, and Freestone Counties to about 180,000 acres plus whatever the gross equivalent is of the 60,000 net acres they acquired from Legacy Reserves (It should be more than 250,000 gross acres in total). Here’s a map of the Comstock lease area:

Other entities, such as Aethon, Vanna Production, and Thorp Petroleum, have leased an additional 118,000 gross acres in Freestone, Leon, and Robertson Counties, so total leasing is around 300,000 acres plus the 60,000 net. Here’s a map of the total lease area in Freestone, Leon, and Robertson:

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Thanks Alan.
I’ve got a head-scratcher right in the middle of that area. We have minerals in the M C Lee Survey A-500, the Shelley Pate well is on it (about 4,000 feet, drilled 1980), barely producing–they don’t even send checks out, but enough to hold. The operator, BASA, claims to not have the deep rights, so not sure what their play is. I don’t actually know how the old lease document is worded–never seen it. They are not offering to lease the deep rights from us, and nobody else has offered us a lease on anything. Basa land man claims to not know of any leasing in the area. Perhaps they are the ones behind my recent offers to purchase my rights–very aggressive ones.
I just want someone to lease the deep rights. Any thoughts?

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The MC Lee Survey is not in the heart of the current leasing area, but Vanna Production has leased an 82-acre tract in it, and both Surprise Valley and Hou-Tex Exploration (known speculator) have leased a 168-acre tract that is in the M C Lee and the R Hunter A-372 Survey.

Your area is quite a distance to the northeast from Comstock’s current drilling activity, so it’s possible that interest in leasing your deep rights may increase as they move to the northeast.


Thank you Alan. I appreciate that information.

You need to review the old lease to determine what depths are held. It should be filed in deed records. Many of the old leases apply to all depths and do not have depth severances. If that is the case, then you cannot lease the deep rights until the lease expires. It is not unusual for the shallow and deep right leasehold rights to be assigned separately. So Basa may hold shallow rights down to certain depth and another company may hold deeper rights. This can be determined by tracing the assignments from the original lessee forward in the deed records. You should also review the lease to see what production is required to keep the lease from expiring. The problem may be that your royalty decimal is very small, but you could try sending a new division order requiring an annual payment.


Thank you TenninDaze. That is very helpful.

This is why leases need to have a “minimum royalty clause”. The lease is required to pay X # of dollars per year per net mineral acre. If a company is going to HBP the lease then they are going to have to Pay a hefty fee!

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How close is this getting near Edward Davis A-243? I still have not heard any news regarding this area? Very interested to know.

If you look at the Surprise Valley leasing area map shown earlier in this thread, The Edward Davis Survey A-243 is located just above the “7” icon (indicating Highway 7) between Centerville and Concord. As you can see, it is very close.

New info: Nickel River Royalties, leasing for Concordia Energy, has leased an 87.5 acre tract and a 93.5 acre tract in the Edward Davis Survey A-243.

I am aware of who that is. Thank you Alan.

What do you know about Nickel River’s leasing program? Since 3/30/2023, they’ve recorded leases covering more than 7,000 acres in Leon County.

I think the two you mention above are adjacent to me. Nickle River called me several times and even sent me a lease to sign within 24 hours.!!! Other than that I do not know anything.