If you are not leased can they drill horizontally under your property?

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It would be helpful to know where your property is located since the answer depends on state law.  Texas or Louisiana?

Sorry, Louisiana.. Section-30,Township-17N, Range-15W. Well was drilled in NE corner of our section and we own all the land around it, we are unleased with 36 acres, our lease ran out right before they drilled in 2011,so we have/do not receive royalties

You say you own the land around the surface location?  Did you sell the land for the drill site?  Just to be clear, you were leased by Chesapeake but the lease expired before the well was spud on April 11, 2011?  If this is so, you may have a case for "sub-surface trespass".  My take is that if Chesapeake didn't get a sub-surface easement because they missed the fact that the lease had expired, you may have a cause of action but I'll leave that to the opinion of an experienced O&G attorney.  I think it would be worth your time to solicit an opinion.

Thanks for the help, the land the well is on we do not own, we are un leased not by choice, the well is in the section corner and we own the adjoining tracts where if they wanted to come back and go horizontal into the bulk of the section they would have to come under us, that’s why we wonder if that’s legal without signing us or our permission. We are getting a lot of contacts asking to buy our royalties and seeing more activity in area and would like to be prepared if they come in to drill again.

I suggest that you pursue some help to know where you stand and are prepared when the time comes for new wells.  You may be able to use your leverage to get an advantageous lease if that's what you want.  Otherwise you may wish to remain unleased and negotiate a sub-surface easement for future wells.  It may be better to broach this subject with Chesapeake before the fact.

I agree with jay that you are likely to have leverage in negotiating a lease if indeed a competent, experienced O&G attorney thinks you have a case for sub-surface trespass.  I know a mineral owner in a similar situation with the exception that a Haynesville well was being drilled when their lease expired.  This was a case where the surface location/well pad was not on the section being drilled and the well had not gone horizontal and penetrated the section to be produced.  That owner pointed this out to the operator and made an offer to enter a new lease with somewhat better terms than the one that had expired.  I'd rather be leased than be an unleased mineral owner.  If you do consider selling your mineral rights in the future, an advantageous lease will be important to maximize the value of your mineral right.  And if new wells are on the way, you'll get plenty of offers.

Thanks for the help, think I will consult an attorney, any recommendations for one in Shreveport/Bossier?

Randy Davidson, Davidson Summers APLC, is my O&G attorney.  The firm has extensive experience dealing with Chesapeake.  It always helps when an operator knows your lawyers and has had experience dealing with them.

Thank y’all for the help


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