What if they weren't really sold?

My spouse recently passed and left his mineral rights to me.

He had minerals in Williams County, but believed he sold it a few years ago. My memory was different than his about the transaction, but I didn’t pay close attention. I remembered that they offered to buy a parcel and he took the offer. The actual sale paperwork had three parcels on it.

Ever since then, companies send letters offering to buy his two parcels (or all his mineral rights) in Williams county. They come fairly often. Another one came last month. How would I know if there is anything to sell?


Ask the potential buyer for copies of deeds or title documents to verify your possible ownership. If there is continuing ownership you may have problems conveying any ownership due to two possible factors. First if there is ownership a probate or ancillary probate may be required. Secondly ND has a dormant minerals statute that states you need to record a statement of claim in the county of ownership every twenty years unless the interests are active. Based upon my last comment these holdings may be producing if you getting offers. Therefore if you were to sell you might be underpaid.

You could always contact the county recorder and see if they would track down the Mineral Deed and send it to you, for a small fee. Or hire a landman to run title.

I should have added the fact Williams County is one of the top 2 or 3 producing Counties in ND. The additional effort may be worth the time.

While going through papers, I found an offer where someone actually listed the two parcels and the operator. The offer was dated in July, 2020. So, would you think it be worth it to hire a land man to run the title? bkay

I would. Based upon your mention of an operator there was/is production that has not been paid. You are going to need some legal help to clear title and take ownership.

At this point its a crap shoot until you have more detail. Since various contacts have been made other parties have invested the time to locate you. Therefore the holdings generate enough production to justify the interest.

Thanks, Cara. The will is not yet been probated as COVID has delayed all legal proceedings. The lawyer called yesterday and we finally have a date in late September. I think I’ll check out what kind of money we are talking about to hire a land man. Bkay

Since you have an attorney involved (I assume a ND attorney) I would ask that person to do the investigation. Yes it will increase the cost but they most likely have local contacts. The cost may be reduced since many land people are looking for work.

I’m in Texas. My spouse’s father was an “independent” oil man. He retained interest in many parcels in several states. With fracking, some of those parcels have been “resurrected”, for lack of a better word. I’ll look for a land man in the area. Now that I have the land description, it shouldn’t be a big job. Thanks for your help. bkay

The AAPL (American Association of Petroleum Landmen) have a directory of landmen by state. You could look on their website to get a possible contact.

Another suggestion. If you post the legal descriptions one of our viewers may have access to DrillingInfo (they recently changed name) or another system where they can identify the producing property and name the operator.

Thanks a bunch, I really appreciate your help. bk

The only offer that included the description was for: Sec 3, T154N, R101W and Sec 34, T155N, R101W, it lists Equinor Energy as the operator bkay

Equinor Energy is the operator. There is a pad in the far NW corner of section 3. Two horizontal wells go south into section 10. They are Charles 3-10 #1-H (online since 2/2012) and Charles 3-10 #2H (online since 12/11). Section 3 would have perforations. One well goes north into sections 34 & 27. It is the Cherrey 34-27 #1-H (online since January 2012). Perforations are only in 34 and 27, not 3. Lot of royalties to be collected, so you might want to contact Equinor and find out what is going on before you contemplate selling. Brigham Oil and Gas had the wells before Equinor, so you may have to contact them as well. Have you checked with the state treasurer for unclaimed funds?

ND is normally spaces their horizontal well units in at least a single section and upwards to four complete sections. Some newer wells may have larger spacing. Brigham was very active in ND.

M Barnes added a very good suggestion. Check both TX & ND, under abandon/unclaimed funds, which usually resides in the State Treasurers site.

I Have Leases there but have not received anything I am in the county court house! my Lease was up in 2016 and never signed a division order!!

Theresa, You may be posting about a different topic. If you list your section, township and range, we may be able to get your more information. Just because you leased does not mean anyone drilled. You have to have production before you get a Division Order.

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