Ownership and Transfers

Gas and oil ownership and transfers are matters of property law. In the United States, gas and oil is property that can be sold or leased by their owner. Articles in this section discuss competing claims to gas and oil, methods of transferring them, as well as other ways property laws affect gas and oil rights.

Written by
about Ownership and Transfers
on November 5, 2013

Mineral Rights, Survivorship, and Probate

When an individual dies, the probate court takes all of the real property titled in the deceased person’s name and determines the new owner.  The same is true of oil, gas, and mineral interests, as they are real property.

This process is fairly straightforward if the individual had a will that clearly stated where they wanted these interests to go.  Even so, the probate court must approve of the transfer.  This can be a lengthy process and is subject to court costs and attorney’s fees.

Alternatively, the mineral interests can pass automatically if they are part of a deed containing survivorship language. …

Ohio’s Dormant Minerals Act – Overview

This is the first part of a series of articles about Ohio’s Dormant Minerals Act.  Click here for a more detailed description of how Ohio Courts interpret Ohio’s Dormant Minerals Act.

Oil and gas companies go to great lengths to determine if the person who signed a lease is in fact the true owner of the minerals.  It is not uncommon for a landowner to sign a lease and only be paid for 1/2 of what was originally promised, simply because the landowner only actually owned 1/2 of the minerals underneath her land.  At that point, the oil and gas company tracks down the other 1/2 mineral owner so they can enjoy the full benefits of leasing a 100% mineral interest. …

Written by
about Leases + Ownership and Transfers
on August 14, 2013

Mortgage Subordinations

Drillers typically ask the landowner’s bank to subordinate their interest in the land (the mortgage) to the driller’s interest (the oil and gas lease).  The driller, of course, was concerned that they would lose their interest in the land if the bank foreclosed on the property.  If the bank’s interest was subordinated to the driller’s, however, the driller would retain their interest even in the event of foreclosure.  In the past, banks granted subordinations without hesitation.  Lately, however, banks are approaching mortgage subordinations much more carefully.  The general concern involves the enormous amounts of money involved in recent Utica shale drilling. …

Written by
about Leases + Ownership and Transfers
on December 2, 2012

Title Defects

Before a landowner will be paid a signing bonus for executing an oil and gas lease, the Lessee needs to make sure that the person who signed the lease is the person who owns the oil and gas underneath the subject property.   To know for sure, the energy company has to spend a good amount of time doing research at the local courthouse.   There, they search through old deed books and try to determine if any prior owner to the land had reserved the oil and gas rights.  If another person reserved the oil and gas rights, then that party is, by law, the only person entitled to enter into the oil and gas lease. …

Written by
about Leases + Ownership and Transfers
on June 21, 2012

Buying Land With Mineral Rights

We get lots of phone calls from folks who want to purchase land, either at a sheriff’s sale, at auction, or just from a local seller. They want to know if the mineral rights are included in the sale. These people want to buy land and quickly lease the mineral rights for a sizable signing bonus that can often offset a large portion of what they just paid for the land.

In a private transaction, the Seller will frequently make that information available to the buyer. In an auction or at a sheriff’s sale, most often the auction or title company will make no guarantees about the mineral rights.…

Written by
about Ownership and Transfers + Royalties + Taxes
on June 18, 2012

Minimizing Tax Impact of Oil and Gas Royalties

The impact oil and gas leasing has had on Ohio is remarkable.  A farmer who struggled to make ends meet one year could find himself with an income tax bill he never imagined the next.  Though we Ohioans have been blessed by these essential resources, allocating their value can be troublesome from a financial standpoint.  Many people may find themselves unsure of what to do with signing bonus money.  It doesn’t take a financial adviser to outline the basic options: save it or spend it.  Prudence dictates the best of these two options.

Everyone’s financial situation is different.  However, people from all types of situations certainly have people that they care about and would like to support if they are able. …

Written by
about Leases + Ownership and Transfers
on June 13, 2012

Why Haven’t I Been Offered an Oil and Gas Lease?

Many of our clients seek our expertise in reviewing an oil and gas lease that has been offered to them. These people have been approached by oil and gas companies that are interested in accessing the oil and gas under their land. When reaching out to landowners, these companies usually have a pretty good idea as to whether or not that particular landowner is eligible for an oil and gas lease. Even so, sometimes landowners who are eligible for an oil and gas lease aren’t offered a lease. This could be for a number of reasons. Acreage size is probably the most important of these reasons.…