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Question
My question is.My mother and her sister and brother was left a lease from their farther. Delhi Pipeline  talked my mother and uncle into signing their parts over to Delhi but my aunt did not sign. My question is is it legal for Delhi to take over the lease without her signing? Thank you for any help on this matter.

Answer
I need some clarification.  When you say "signing their parts over to Delhi" are you saying that they signed an oil and gas lease, or did they sign a deed selling their mineral rights to Delhi?

I'm not a lawyer, so I can't answer any legal question directly, but I can tell you that if I worked as a division order analyst at Delhi, this is how I would set up Delhi's records:

I would consider your mother, aunt and uncle to all be what is called "tenants-in-common" with each other, meaning that they own their 1/3 share of your grandfather's mineral rights, but they have the right to sign an oil & gas lease for just their own share, or to not sign.  If your mother's and uncle's lease is pooled into a producing well "unit", they will be paid their individual share of the royalty called for in the lease.  Your aunt will not get anything.  UNLESS, and this is a very big "unless" any holes in the wellbore are right underneath the land covered by the lease.  Here in Texas (you didn't say where this land is located), if there is even one hole (called a "perforation") in the wellbore directly under your aunt's land, she is entitled to receive 100% of her mineral rights share of production after Delhi pays itself back 100% of your aunt's mineral rights share of the costs of drilling & producing the well, called "100% payout".  Your aunt won't see any money until the well pays out 100% of the cost of drilling it--while your mother and uncle will receive 1/8th, or 3/16 or 1/5 of their mineral rights share of production, whatever royalty rate is stated in their lease from the first day the well starts to produce, until it's all finished producing and gets plugged.

BUT, and this is a very big "but"--if there is NOT at least one hole in the wellbore under this piece of land, your aunt will never receive any money at all, ever.  But your mother and uncle will always receive their royalties called for in the lease.

If this doesn't answer your question, or if the land is not in Texas and you want to know if what I just told you would still apply in the state where it is located, please ask a follow-up question.  Or, if they signed a deed instead of an oil and gas lease, send me a follow-up question.  Thanks for your patience waiting to receive my answer--this has been a busy week.  Thank you!  

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Marsha Breazeale, M.Ed., CDOA, CPLTA

Expertise

All questions regarding division orders; ownership decimal calculations; title ownership and payer record changes (testate/intestate inheritance; deed; assignment; court order); oil and gas lease analysis for record-keeping and purposes of payment by operator or payer; pooling, horizontal wells, horizontal well allocation units; unclaimed property reporting; royalty owner relations questions. All questions concerning administration of surface land contracts and payment questions, such as for Surface Right-of-Way, Sub-Surface Right-of-Way, Easement, Surface Use Agreement. All questions regarding industry-standard and company-specific policies that affect land owners.

Experience

Sr. Staff Division Order Analyst. Certified Division Order Analyst (CDOA, National Association of Division Order Analysts) and Certified Lease Analyst (CPLTA, National Association of Professional Lease and Title Analysts) with 35 years of experience as a combination division order analyst and lease analyst in exploration and production in the oil and gas industry.

Organizations
National Assoc. of Division Order Analysts (NADOA), National Association of Division Order Analysts (NALTA), American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL), American Society of Trainers and Developers (ASTD)

Publications
"How an Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Company Operates" and "Principles of Oil & Gas Lease Analysis: Standard Clauses", Oil Patch Press; Articles in NADOA Magazine; LandFocus EDU Professional Training Manuals

Education/Credentials
B.A.in Management from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio; M.Ed. in Instructional Design from WGU Texas.

Past/Present Clients
Past 15 years: GeoSouthern Energy Corporation; Contango Oil Co./Crimson Exploration & Operating Inc.; Apache Corporation; BP America; Marathon Oil; Newfield Exploration

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