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Landowners: Know Your Mineral Rights

Oil and gas are the fuels that drive the world economy. And the state of Texas is a significant contributor to that economy, with giants like the Eagle Ford Shale and the Barnett Shale covering large swaths of Texas.

There is money to be made, but Texas landowners must understand their rights when leasing their land to oil and gas companies, so as to avoid an oil lease dispute.

As Dianna Wray reports for the Victoria Advocate, Judon Fambrough is a long-time professor of oil and gas law at Texas A&M University. Whether you've already entered into a lease, or you're about to, here are some of Fambrough's points to keep in mind:

  • Make it specific. The language in the oil lease should be specific and precise. According to Fambrough, you can "put anything you want the company to do, or not to do, into the lease." You get problems with vague language.
  • Negotiate. Fambrough says that everything in the lease is up for negotiation. This goes for prior to entering into a new oil lease, to the point at which the oil lease should be renewed (a "re-lease" should occur every three years).
  • Shop around. If one company does not agree to the terms of a lease, chances are another company will. Do not rush into signing an oil lease.
  • Hire a lawyer. Fambrough is right: the first offer isn't usually the best offer you can get. A lawyer can help you determine whether an oil lease, as written, will benefit your best interests. Consider getting some legal advice.

Ultimately, the oil boom should benefit all who are involved - not just the oil and gas companies. If you're a landowner, do what you can to understand your rights and protect them.

Source: Judon Fambrough's 10 Things to know when leasing

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