Oil and Gas Rights: More Complicated Than You Would Think

» Posted by on Jan 1, 2020 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I came upon an article recently about a widowed landowner who is having to fight for her property against a large oil company that is looking to explore underneath her land. The widow, who lives in Simpson County, Mississippi, is one of around twenty landowners who are being shoved aside while private companies search for oil and gas. 

Personally, I was shocked to learn that these people won’t benefit from oil found under their own property. Apparently, though they own the land, they don’t have claims to whatever is found underneath it, according to a particularly bonkers Mississippi law. I never knew enough about oil and gas rights to know that this was a possibility, but it seems particularly cruel that a company can legally set up shop on someone’s land and then take whatever they find underneath it.

The companies would like to pretend they’re not completely heartless, though. They are still required to fork over a $5,000 security bond in case the landowners have to pay for anything if the order gets overturned. But this doesn’t mean damages to the property are covered, which is unfortunate because searching the ground for oil and gas can have negative effects on crops and trees. If that happens, the landowners are out of luck.

This isn’t happening all over the country, though. In other regions, people are able to sell their mineral, gas, or oil rights for a lot of money. They sell through brokers, like The Mineral Auction, based out of Austin, TX. Brokers ensure that people aren’t being swindled by large companies, like the ones who are taking advantage of the landowners in Mississippi. There are many things to consider when you’re going to sell your gas rights that after doing only a little bit of research, I can see pretty clearly that it would be easy to get into trouble if you don’t know what you’re doing.

After being so frustrated with the story about the Mississippi landowners, it’s good to know that at least some people are able to sell their gas and oil rights for a fair price. I’m sure that if the people in Mississippi were given that option, some of them would take it. Still, others would want to stay on their land and keep running things the way they always have, and that should be their right. As of now, however, they have no choice in the matter at all. A company is going to be able to test their land for valuable oil and gas, and there will be nothing they can legally do about it. All I can say is that I’m happy for those people who are able to benefit from what’s under their land, and I hope things will change soon for those who aren’t.

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