I own mineral deeds for two tracks of property in DeSoto Parish. Both are located in the same section. Drilling has been conducted all around this particular section and neighbors in other sections informed of considerable bonus leases.
Last year, I received notices of spacing hearings for at least 7 units drilled in one section but used to drain my section (cross sectional units).
This week I received another notice that a unit has already been drilled on the far side of my section and company wants it designated as an alternate.
Question: Can a company tap my section, drain the minerals, and not consult mineral deed owners, offer a lease, or negotiate royalties?
Assuming that your section has already been unitized (and for convention, that the units are essentially the equivalent of whole sections such that your property, as well as all of the remainder of the section or in the same unit) and the operator has field orders authorizing such wells for said unit (or units) and valid well permits: yes, they absolutely can.
Is it in their interest to do so with unleased tract(s) within said units? That's an economical decision for each operator. Certainly more than any other state, it is generally favorable to lease an unleased mineral owner in LA (given that no risk-fee penalties can be assessed against an unleased owner by statute - the only charges that can be assessed are actual "well costs" again specified by statute). In short, when the well "pays out" by statutory definition, you come back in at your full proportionate share of contribution to the unit. However, once an operator has ceased further lease acquisition in favor of drilling the initial unit well, the drilling of additional well(s) usually does not create an impetus to acquire additional working interest.
That does not stop you from contacting the operator and instigating negotiations for a lease, however. Just understand that when the operator has already determined that it does not "need your lease" to drill and develop, your offer terms generally are not as strong as when the operator "needs your lease".
Skip is right. This why folks who held out on leasing early-on often got screwed into being unleased mineral owners.
There are some levers you can pull as an unleased mineral owner to make sure they are calculating your payout balances correctly, but they involve sending notice/demand letters.
Step 1: I would contact the operator and see if they are willing to lease you for a reasonable lease royalty. It generally will make economic sense for them to do so, so this should work.
Step 2: If the operator does not have interest in leasing, I would advise contacting a lawyer to ensure you are demanding payout balance statements in accordance with statute.