My brothers and I have clear title to mineral rights in Williams County just north of Williston, ND, original owner was our uncle, who died in 1976. We were contacted by landsmen last April, one was quite persistent; shortly after that time, we discovered the original mineral rights deed in a strongbox. After consulting an attorney, we decided not to lease at this time and to wait until an oil company recoups their drilling costs and then participate.
I have several concerns:
1. Because we chose not to lease at this time, does that in any way affect the interested oil company's decision to drill on our sections? When contacted by one particular landsman, we were told that the interested oil co. wanted to begin drilling immediately and we have not heard anything for 6 months. Does anyone in this discussion group have mineral rights near T 156, Rg 101, Sects 28 and 29?
2. We also discovered mineral rights in Burke County, which we also probated and received clear title from a deceased aunt. When we discovered mineral lease checks under my aunt's name in ND unclaimed property dating back to 1986, we contacted the administrator for this property. She informed us the rights were transferred to someone else one year ago, and that we would need to contact him. He apparently obtained clear title as no one had come forward to claim these rights in Burke County? Is this legal?
I know these are complex questions, but anyone who could help shed some light would be greatly appreciated. We really don't want to pay an attorney to fight this person in Burke County, but what would the alternative be?