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Oil/Gas/Leasing Minerals When You Do Not Own The Surface


QUESTION: I have been told my siblings and I can lease when we do not own the surface. We  have 3/8 of the minerals. The surface owner does not want to lease, so he can continue to try to buy the minerals he does not have.
  Is it possible to lease without him?

ANSWER: Sorry for the delay...

I don't know what state you are in and that makes a difference but you are the owners of the minerals and you have the right to have those minerals developed.  You also have the right to use the surface of the ground EVEN IF YOU DO NOT OWN IT to extract those minerals.

This means that you have the right to lease your minerals for extraction without the permission or anything else from the surface owner.

Lease them, and let them be extracted.  Don't be bullied by the surface owner in this regard.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you. The property in question is in Texas. Also own property[in Texas] that I have 50% minerals that I am receiving offers on.  I have a question about how the bonus on a lease is calculated; is it paid only to the surface owner on mineral acres or to all owners of mineral acres, or only to surface owner on total acres?
Thank you again for your time.

Surface owners who do not own the minerals do not receive any bonus.  The only person to receive bonus consideration is the mineral owners.  You will receive a bonus offer in dollars per mineral acre.

If you have a 100 acre tract and you own 50% then you own 50 net mineral acres.  If the offer is for $10 per acre then your bonus would be 50 X $10 or $500 dollars.  The surface owner would not receive any bonus for your minerals.  

The minerals have been severed from the surface ownership.

Hope this helps.  


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Cliff Williams


I will try to answer any question you have. Even if I reject a question, I still will give a shot at what I would do in your position. The only questions I will not take a shot at would be a highly technical engineering or geological question. I am beginning to see quite a few questions from land men and other oil companies and that doesn't matter to me either. I will attempt to help.


I am an oil and gas attorney that has been in the business for more than 20 years. I have held a series 22 and 63 securities license, been in oil and gas operations, land man, division order analyst all prior to obtaining my law degree. Today, I typically write title opinions verifying ownership of oil and gas minerals, assist landowners in negotiations on oil, gas and mineral leases, easements and conveyances. I also assist oil and gas companies with the sale of working interest ownership as well as common business law issues.

State Bar of Texas, Member of the Tarrant County Bar and the Dallas County Bar Associations.

Multiple oil and gas topical columns on

I have a B.S. degree which I rely upon more than my Business Mgmt degree or Law degree...

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