Knock. Knock. Who is there? Mineral rights owner. Mineral rights owner who?! Learning that you may not be the owner of the minerals located on your property can be quite the shock. On the other hand, learning that you could profit from the minerals located on your property, can be an even bigger surprise. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions that Oklahoma residents have about mineral rights:
What are “mineral rights?”
Attorneys often refer to property rights as a bundle of sticks, because these rights can be separated. For example, a person who only has mineral rights to a particular piece of property does not own the land, but rather has the right to extract and use the minerals located below the surface of the land.
What types of minerals can be included by the term?
When people refer to “mineral” the minerals they usually are referring to are not silver or gold—at least not in Oklahoma. The most minerals commonly sought after in the area are natural gas, oil, and coal. However, sometimes, a contract can simply refer to “all the minerals” which would give the owner rights to all minerals located below the surface. Although usually, the contract will specify which particular minerals are allowed to be extracted. In some cases, a contract for mineral rights can also include surface rights, which would allow the owner to excavate materials such as clay or gravel.
How are mineral rights conveyed?
Mineral rights are conveyed when the owner conveys those rights separate from the rights of the land. Mineral right conveyance can happen in one of three main ways. First, a property owner can sell the mineral rights while retaining ownership of the land. Alternatively, second, the property owner can retain the mineral rights while selling the land. The third way is that the property owner could convey the mineral rights to one person and the land to another person.
How can I tell if I own the mineral rights to my property?
In many parts of the country, when a person purchases a piece of property he or she receives all the rights to the land. Once the mineral rights are separated from the land, it can be a challenge to determine in later transactions, if the mineral rights are included. This is because the deed will not specify that the mineral rights are not included. It can come as a surprise to a landowner to find out years after they have purchased the property to discover that someone else owns the mineral rights—and is ready to extract the minerals.
What should I do the owner of the minerals contacts me?
If you are contacted by someone claiming to have rights to the minerals on the land you own— it is important to seek the counsel of attorney well-versed in the area of mineral rights as soon as possible. First, the attorney will make certain that the person claiming to have mineral rights to your property, in fact, does. It is possible that the person may have once had rights, but those rights may have expired or been transferred to someone else.
If you are a property owner who has been contacted by an oil or gas company with regards to leasing or selling mineral rights, it is important that you speak with an attorney first. Only experienced Oklahoma Oil and Gas Law Attorneys can help protect your property rights. The attorneys at The Handley Law Center have helped numerous clients negotiate fair leases that take into account their clients’ specific needs. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our skilled oil and gas law attorneys, contact The Handley Law Center today at (405) 295-1924. You can trust our attorneys to provide you with excellent and cost-effective representation!