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?
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!