Every mineral owner should assemble, and keep current, a file of pertinent information regarding their mineral estate. The file should contain conveyance documents of numerous types, royalty payment receipts, lessee contact information and well data (if the minerals are under an existing lease) and notes that help to describe the extent and status of the mineral estate. The discussions on Go Haynesville Shale provide a daily reminder of why all mineral owners should know as much as possible about the details of their mineral assets.

Conveyance documents are, by law, recorded at parish Clerk of Court offices and represent the foundation of your mineral file. I find the staff at all parish Clerks of Court offices to be courteous and professional. Mineral owners should feel no reluctance in asking the staff for assistance. Mineral owners should be prepared to assist the staff by providing accurate, basic information such as legal names, pertinent dates (exact, if known, or approximate), legal property descriptions (if known) and the type of document desired. For those who have the time and inclination to perform their own record search, the staff will provide a tour of the record room and a basic lesson on how the records are organized. A partial list of the conveyance documents of value may include mineral leases; memorandum of leases; lease assignments,releases and extensions; deeds and successions and rights of way/easements. I provide a research and document retrieval service for mineral owners who are unable to access the public conveyance records themselves.

The State of Louisiana Department of Natural Resources maintains a public web-accessible database, SONRIS, that is the gold standard among on-line state mineral information portals. Go to the GHS Main Page and point to "INFO" at the top of the page to review all the links provided including SONRIS. All members should familiarize themselves with the valuable information available through each of the links. If you are new to the site and to the discussion of minerals, I recommend "SHALE TERMS", "WHAT IS IT?", "PHOTOS" under "MEDIA" (for maps) and "GROUPS" (for the information and discussions specific to your area of interest). Also "HELPFUL LINKS" and "NOTES" on the Main Page left hand column. On the SONRIS Main Page, I suggest that you read the database overview and then click on "SONRIS Lite" under the title, "DATABASE ACCESS", in the left hand column. You will then see the search options organized into sections. For those with basic computer skills, I think you will find the database to be user friendly and comprehensive in scope. Searches using the information specific to your mineral interest will provide valuable data to include in your mineral file. Please keep in mind that the information is subject to the filing of reports by operators and, though generally accurate, there may be a considerable time lag between actual well status and that information appearing on the database. I provide a research service for mineral owners unable to access or understand the information contained in the database.

The Louisiana State Department of Natural Resources/Office of Conservation divides the state into three districts: Lafayette, Monroe and Shreveport. The Shreveport District office covers all of the NW Louisiana parishes that have Haynesville Shale exploration and production activity. The OOC Shreveport District office is located at 1525 Fairfield Avenue, Suite 668. The office is open from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday (Phone: 318-676-7585, FAX: 318-676-7486). The office contains copies of the paper records of oil and gas related reports and applications required by the state. A significant portion of the documents, particularly those most recent, are available via the SONRIS database though some may not be accessible on SONRIS Lite. The office provides computer terminals so that interested parties also have access on site to the SONRIS databases. Examples of reports and applications on file include: well and unit applications in their complete edition, unit orders, field orders, plats, pooling agreements and well files. My research and document retrieval service includes all records housed at the OOC Shreveport office.

If you would care to contact me, please point to "SPONSOR" at the top of the GHS Main Page and then click on "Skip Peel". Good Luck.

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Comment by mskillerbee on June 23, 2009 at 8:01pm
Hello! My neighbor had an offer from a landman and was kind enough to ask some of the initial basic questions. I am in T17N R14W and have 5.25 acres. This is my future, having rebuilt from nothing after a devastating family illness. I came home yesterday to find he had contracts and checks with offers. I have gone to all the meetings and read here as often as i can. Now I am terrified of messing up. What kind of activity is there, it seems like years since the first chaos and huge bonuses. I have read all the stuff here and have copied the ideas from Kassie's documents and am going over the lease and seeing what might be added in and what i do not need-no cattle or fences or such. Is this what i should be doing or is an attorney the only way to go? If so what should i expect to pay to understand what the lease says?
Thank you for any guidance you all might offer.
Comment by Skip Peel - Independent Landman on October 19, 2008 at 10:19am
To Mr. Lynn, alleyboy and Tiger. The process of building a mineral file is something that many members are capable of doing themselves. Once the file contains the pertinent documents, you are in a position to seek legal advise from a qualified professional. I am not a qualified legal expert. Neither are the staff at any Clerks of Court offices nor the staff at the LA. State Office of Conservation. Legal questions should be addressed to an attorney with industry experience. An O&G attorney can answer general questions but much of what members wish to know is specific to their mineral estate. It is considerably more expensive for you to pay an attorney to gather your documents than for you to do so yourself or to pay someone like myself to do so for you. If you would like a timely and accurate legal opinion, it is in your interest to have a complete mineral file. You can then ask specific questions and get specific answers. There are many knowledgeable members who give their opinions in discussions on this site. I think any and all of them have said that the services of a qualified attorney are well worth what you pay for them. And that what you read on the site, though of some educational value, is free and worth exactly what you pay for it. If you desire to ask a specific legal question, I suggest that you first research the discussion are archived on the site and if you do not find what you are looking for, start a new discussion and categorize it appropriately.
Comment by alleyboy on October 19, 2008 at 9:19am
I'vve talked to people at several COC, deeds, etc. and none of them have any advice nor understanding of riparian rights as pertains to water or right of ways
Comment by William W. Lynn on October 17, 2008 at 10:10pm
While on the subject of ownership of mineral rights, I have a legal question that somebody might know the answer to based on Louisiana law. Let us assume that a father passes away, leaves a will, and in that will he assigns the mineral rights of his estate to his two sons equally, and to his three grandchildren on a lesser amount. One son inherits a vacation home on a lake lot, while the other son is given some 53 acres of land from the family estate. The two brothers have an equal share in the ownership of the remaining acreage (less than 20) of the estate. While there is no question about the ownership of the mineral rights of this property at this point in time, I recall that after ten years, mineral rights revert to the "new" owner
of property that has been sold or transferred. If this is the case, would the owner of the 53 acres then have 100% ownership of the mineral rights of that acreage and a 1/2 ownership of the remaining property jointly owned with the brother regardless of the assignment by the will of the deceased father?
Right now there is no problem with the division of any monies coming from O/G leasing and drilling, but a few years down the road it could become a big issue.
Comment by Wolverine on October 17, 2008 at 4:00pm
Thanks SP!!! I will do!!! Great Article!!! I have it saved!!!
Comment by Bobi Carr ("parker") on October 16, 2008 at 8:31pm
Great article Skip.
I would add that the Clerk of Courts office can only guide you in the understanding of how to access the documents. They cannot give legal advice. I have been present when the staff has told people this and they seem unable to comprehend. As in the situation in DeSoto Parish, the running of records can get very complicated.
Comment by Dorcheated A1 on October 16, 2008 at 3:26pm
Thanks skipper very informative.
Comment by Keith Mauck (Site Publisher) on October 16, 2008 at 3:23pm
thanks Skip

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