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 February 26, 2015

Obtaining Unexpected Profits from Ohio’s Dormant Minerals Act


Ohio’s dormant minerals act (DMA) is designed to rejuvenate abandoned oil and gas reservations by granting them to the surface owner (a more detailed explanation of the DMA can be found here).

A basic DMA process with one oil and gas holder:

In a very basic scenario, the Surface Owner notifies the oil and gas Holder that their rights will be declared abandoned in 60 days.  In order to retain their interests, the Holder must record a claim form prior to the 60th day.  A timely filed claim form shuts down the whole process: the Surface Owner cannot re-capture the Holder’s interests.…

Oil and Gas Lease Ownership Challenges – Seminar Materials

Below are the materials the National Business Institute asked me to prepare for a seminar on Oil and Gas law.


A.  Recent case law and litigation trends

Though Ohio was one of the earliest states to have commercial production of oil and gas, surprisingly, it has not developed much of a body of case law in the field of oil and gas.  Frequently, the laws of other states must be reviewed to find cases on point – Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana seem to have the most published opinions concerning oil and gas.

The advent of the Utica shale has changed things. …

Written by
about Leases + Ownership and Transfers
on October 2, 2014

Non-Consenting Landowners and Conflicts Between Leases

This article discusses situations arising when several people own the same piece of land, and only some of them sign an oil and gas lease.  Resolving this issue requires a discussion of basic property ownership principles.

Types of Land Ownership

Ownership in land takes many forms.  Some individuals are the sole owner of their land.  Another piece of land could be owned by several people, such as when brothers and sisters inherit land from a parent.  This joint ownership of a piece of property is usually called a tenancy in common, with the owners themselves known as tenants in common , or co-tenants.

Why am I Still Receiving Royalty Checks?

I sold my property but did not reserve the mineral rights. Why am I still receiving royalty checks?

If you did not reserve mineral rights when you sold your property, you are almost certainly not entitled to royalty checks anymore. The reason the oil and gas company keeps sending them is simple: they don’t know that the property has been sold. Somebody has to tell them. Just because they keep sending checks does not mean that you are entitled to them.

Typically the new owner takes this responsibility upon themselves because they want to start receiving royalty checks. Sometimes, however, they forget.…

Getting an Oil and Gas Company to Change Who They Pay

I bought property with an existing lease on it. What do I do? How do I get an oil and gas company to update their records and add me as the current owner?

Most oil and gas leases (even really old ones) contain some variation of this phrase: “No change of ownership shall be binding on the Lessee until it is duly notified.” This is legalese for: the oil and gas company will keep paying the old owner until the new owner speaks up and shows ownership.

When you think about it, this makes sense: oil and gas companies cannot be responsible for watching every courthouse in the state to see when a property changes hands.…

Written by
about Ownership and Transfers + Pipelines
on May 27, 2014

Eminent Domain, Condemnation, Appropriation and Takings: A Company Is Cramming a Pipeline that I Don’t Want Down my Throat

The above terms are frequently misused by both landowners and industry insiders. While their specific meanings are often misunderstood, the situation presented is usually as follows: “a pipeline company is trying to force me to have a pipeline that I don’t want.”

This issue is generally covered by the umbrella term of “eminent domain.” Eminent domain is the government’s power to take your property. The government derives their ability to take your property from the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” In lay terms this means that if the government pays you appropriately, they may take your property for public use.

Fracking Bans and Eminent Domain

As shale drilling increases across the country, fracking bans do, too.  In New York, for example, more than 50 municipalities have issued moratoriums or even outright bans on fracking.  Many Ohio municipalities have followed suit.  A lawsuit addressing this issue is currently pending before the Ohio Supreme Court: Munroe Falls vs. Beck Energy.

Are municipal fracking bans legal?

This question is still being settled by Ohio courts.  We all know that municipalities are empowered to issue and enforce zoning laws that restrict the use of one’s property.  But does the power to zone also permit them to ban an industrial process like fracking? …

Written by
about Ownership and Transfers
on November 12, 2013

Ohio’s Dormant Minerals Act – Ohio’s Courts Weigh In

Below is an excerpt from a presentation I gave on November 8, 2013 for the Ohio Association of Justice Seminar.  A broader overview of Ohio’s Dormant Mineral’s Act can be found here.

I.  Introduction

Commencing in the spring of 2010, eastern Ohio experienced an unprecedented oil and gas leasing boom due to the discovery of the Utica Shale.  In the recent past, Ohio landowners might expect to receive $10-20/acre for signing an oil and gas lease.  Presently, prices in the range of $3,000-6,000 have become the norm.  Hundreds of wells have now been drilled throughout eastern Ohio into the Utica shale, with some being prolific producers.…