1. Can mineral rights be sold if there is no drilling activity on land or if the land is not leased?

 

2. Is there a time frame after which the mineral rights revert back to the land owner if there has been no activity?

 

3. If the mineral rights are sold, does the land owner have a say in the use of the surface rights such as a well placement, equipment storage, right of way, etc and does the land owner receive the money?

 

4. If the mineral rights do eventually revert back to the land owner what happpens to the mineral rights if the land is sold and there has been no production, does the mineral rights come back to the original owner or the new owner?

 

5. If the mineral rights are sold can the person who bought the mineral rights sell them to someone else and how does that affect the land owner, for example if the mineral rights do revert back to land owner after so long would a sell to another person or company extend the time frame?

 

A friend of mine is under the impression that the land and mineral rights must stay together and I have read on GHS of people selling their mineral rights or could he mean the surface rights and mineral rights must stay together?

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Replies to This Discussion

Shaleeee:

Many of these questions have been answered before elsewhere in the forum.  Short answers below (applicable as to LA); suggest searching GHS if you need more details:

 

1) Yes, minerals can be sold irrespective of activity on the land, or on lands pooled therewith in the event of an applicable field order or pooling agreement.

 

2) Yes, statutory prescription of ten (10) consecutive years of nonuse is applicable, however, parties may contract to a shorter period in the deed that created the mineral servitude.

 

3) Surface owner MAY have a say in the use of surface rights - it is all dependent on what rights are reserved and what rights are conveyed in the instrument that creates the mineral servitude.  Also, dependent upon jurisprudence, check as to what may be applicable limits on surface estate may be.

 

4) Prescription always reverts to the instant surface owner at the time that mineral rights prescribe when involving lands in private ownership.  Lands subsequently acquired by the state, state agency, or political subdivision - the rules vary.  Check according to Mineral Code and/or an attorney - this is also dependent upon the facts.

 

5) Acquired mineral rights may be conveyed to other parties, however, the severance of mineral rights from the surface estate creates a mineral servitude that is subject to the Mineral Code and the contained rules of prescription.  All subsequent sales are made subject to the existence or possible extinction of that servitude.  Simply selling the rights to a third party will not serve to extend the servitude, dependent upon the facts, there are certain conditions which may exist to interrupt prescription or suspend prescription (check the Mineral Code and/or with an attorney) other than outright use.

 

Your friend, in short, is incorrect.  According to the doctrine of the dominant mineral estate, a general conveyance of mineral rights provides for reasonable use of the surface to exercise one's rights to capture, however, surface rights associated with a mineral conveyance may be restricted or modified by contract between the parties so long as the parties do not act in a manner that is illegal, inapplicable to third parties (voidable), or in direct contravention of the public policy of the state.  One may easily convey or reserve all mineral rights but waive all surface rights in a conveyance - this would result in one's right to capture to be solely limited to subsurface operations or restricted to operations occurring on lands and/or mineral rights that may be pooled with the subject property.

 

Take care.  Surf around the forum - there has been a lot written about these topics.

Thank you so much!

 

I think I might be the friend referred to. My point is that the owner is not selling the minerals, he is selling his rights to the minerals. As long as he owns the land the purchaser of his rights controls the minerals. If the land is sold the new land owner after some period of time will get the minerals if they are not held by production.
Mike:

No, that's not correct either.

You can convey your mineral rights (which in LA, for oil and gas, amounts to the right to capture minerals from the property and reduce them to possession) to another party, which creates a mineral servitude which is subject to prescription, irrespective of your continued ownership of the property. You (as surface owner of a tract burdened by a mineral servitude) may subsequently elect to enter an act of record to interrupt the prescription of that mineral servitude by acknowledgement, but it would require recording the act to have same be binding against any third party (LA R.S. 31:54).

Also, you may elect to reconvey said mineral rights to the same party (if you wish) after same has reverted to you by prescription, provided that you are the instant owner of said minerals at the time.

Lastly, mineral servitudes may be interrupted by the commencement of a good-faith attempt to produce minerals prior to the extinguishment of the servitude from nonuse, so long as certain requirements are met, even if that attempt results in the drilling of a dry hole. Conveyances of royalty creates a servitude that is more burdensome to maintain in that production must be obtained in order to maintain a right to receive royalty that has been severed from the land.

Basically, when it comes to the right to capture the minerals underlying your property, you can convey whatever you wish, whenever you wish, even your reversionary rights to prescription, provided that you have such rights to convey; however, once the mineral servitude is created, absent any other applicable act which may interrupt prescription, the extinguishment of that mineral servitude becomes solely a function of law and upon the actions of the owner of the mineral servitude in his effort to maintain the mineral servitude. When the mineral servitude prescribes, it prescribes immediately to the instant owner of the interest in the land from which the servitude was created.
Thanks, I guess I was just wrong

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