If you have land in one of the high producing oil and gas fields in the United States, you could become very wealthy if big oil knocks on your door and asks to lease the mineral rights. Or you could discover that you do not own the land or the mineral rights.
As production in hot oil fields such as Bakken and East Texas has soared over the last decade, land disputes have become more common. When land passes through generations, landowners make the costly mistake of not having residential land surveying conducted before oil or precious minerals are discovered.
By having a residential land survey conducted, you could avoid the following costly oversights.
Forgetting to Research Mineral Rights Ownership
Because subsurface mineral rights are commonly separated from the surface rights of the land they are on, land and mineral rights disputes are common. In many mineral rights disputes, two separate parties have sold the mineral rights to the same tract of land. How could this happen? Oftentimes, both parties thought they owned the land and subsurface rights under it. A mining survey is a type of land survey that can determine the mineral resources and ownership on your residential property.
Failing to Determine Clear Land Boundaries
You may not be too concerned about the boundary of your property beside a river on state property. But one day, new shale drilling makes extracting the oil and gas profitable. In one such land and mineral rights dispute currently before the courts, the landowners and state are arguing over who owns the property above and below the waterline. At stake is $290 million in royalty payments being held in escrow. You can avoid costly legal battles by having residential land surveying clearly determine the boundaries before mineral rights values increase.
Not Negotiating Separate Leases for Separate Tracts of Land
If a problem arises on one parcel and drilling and production are halted, it could affect your royalty payments on all tracts of land under one lease. Alternatively, ask a residential land surveying contractor to conduct individual surveys for each tract of land. If some land tracts offer high shale gas development potential, you have the option of negotiating higher royalty payments, larger signing bonuses, and shorter leases for these tracts.
If land disputes do arise, small landowners often do not have the resources to fight big oil and mining interests. Your best offense is having residential land surveying performed. This way, you can address and renegotiate land issues, if necessary, before the stakes become too high.
For more information, reach out to a residential land surveying contractor near you.