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Eight yrs ago I entered into a oil and gas lease. Now I would like to sell the land for developing. Can these leases be negotiated? apparently there is no time limit on this lease. I can't believe I signed this.I live in NY state

I can't believe that you did it either!

There is a time limit on all leases that requires the oil company to drill and produce a well.  This is called a primary term.  If the oil company has not drilled, completed and produced the well so that you are receiving royalty prior to the expiration of the primary term then the lease will expire and the lease is terminated on its own terms without any additional paperwork.

If a well is drilled and you begin to receive royalty then the lease will continue on indefinitely until the production stops.

Your original premise is correct - it is very difficult to get out of the lease until the primary term is completed.  The oil company payed you a "bonus" for executing the lease and this is the money that bought them the "term" to drill and begin producing.

You will contact them and you may still be successful in selling the property with the lease - it will transfer to the new owners.


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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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