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Oil/Gas/oil/gas in North/South Dakota


When our mother passed away several years ago, we (my siblings and I) thought our parents may have owned mineral rights in another state, perhaps North or South Dakota.
What is the best way to investigate this possibility?  Is there a "national" registry of mineral rights owners?
Is there someone I could hire to investigate this for me?
thank you

There is not a national registry.  Oil companies and individuals are required to record the ownership of minerals and leases only in the county in which the property is located.  In order to verify the ownership you will have to hire an oil and gas landman or an attorney to visit each county you believe they could have owned minerals in and have them search the deed records to find your family member's name and whether the interest was ever sold.

This could be a daunting task but the fact that North Dakota oil production is making people millionaires (in specific counties) it could be worth it.  You would not need to search every county in these states...just the ones with substantial oil production.  You could keep checking the Secretary of State website for each of these states as the oil company must turn over unclaimed royalty to the state.  That is where I'd start.


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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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