Wes and the group,
This was a great question and great answers. I have been leasing our family mineral rights for over 40 years in East Texas. You can go into any court house where there is an oil and gas play going on and see the landmen there. If you ask most all of them who they are working for they don't want to tell you most of the time. They think they are "secret agents" I guess LOL. Wes Luke's reply to this "hit the nail on the head". When a landman comes to me and wants to lease acreage, I ask them who they are leasing for and to reduce their offer to writing with their proposed addendum's, I have had them tell me they did not want to go to the trouble of putting it in writing unless I would agree to their terms! I had one of the major companies mentioned fail to pay me over $500,000 plus dollars of lease bonus here in Houston County in the fall of 2008. Everything was in writing and one of their lease brokers spent over a month supposedly abstracting the title from 1834 forward. It was completed and I was told on a Thursday afternoon that they would have me a cashiers check Monday or Tuesday of the coming week!
I still haven't been paid and I don't expect to.
This is off the subject somewhat but I was not the only one in the U.S. that it happened too. What it all boils down to is the lease agreement that you have with them. Most all lessee's assign all or a portion of their rights before a well is drilled. They borrow money to lease and borrow money for their operations. The more I learn about leasing and dealing with oil and gas the more I learn that I don't know. What I ask them now is "HOW and When you are going to pay me. They want to "lock you in on a lease" but want a way to back out of paying you!
There are mineral owners here in Houston County, Texas that have had minerals producing for over a year and never received their royalty payments. I ask the landmen when they try to get me to warrant the title, if they expect me to guarantee their work! You better know who you are dealing with and if they are going to pay! Your lease documents should be structured to be good no matter who winds up with it.
Wes Luke said:
In answer to your question, some of the oil companies have gotten such a bad reputation for the underhanded way they do business, they are having a hard time leasing the way they once did. Chesapeake is one of them. Personally, I wouldn't lease to anyone without knowing who the lease will eventually wind up with. It always looks shady when people are hiding things, and you're right to ask questions.
Where are your minerals located? I do know two people I would literally trust with my life. One is in ND and the other in Tx. One is a mineral manager and the one in ND is a landman. Do you have anyone you can trust with your minerals? If not message me through my profile. I can help. I wish you the best of luck with your endeavor.