New fracking wells nearby. Are they drinking my milkshake?

In IMHO since ultimately this is a legal question. So new wells are close by and I’m assuming the oil and gas may extend beyond the borders of that 10 acre parcel. The big question is how close do the wells need to be before they are taking oil and gas from under my house? At what point do they owe me for my mineral rights?

You presume you even have mineral rights. In many jurisdictions, they’re separate from land ownership.

ETA: Since you acknowledge in advance that it’s a legal question, you should have also remembered to say where you are.

Got it in one.

The OP says

This makes me believe he has a house in a subdivision. In such cases, particularly in areas where Oil & Gas is found, the mineral rights for the entire subdivision are usually separated before the first lot is sold.

In addition, most Oil & Gas companies spend a lot of money to make sure they have the rights to the entire reservoir. Extensive surveys are taken and exploratory wells drilled to define the size of the reservoir. If there is activity in the area and nobody has contacted him about his mineral rights, he probably doesn’t have any.

You most likely never had the mineral rights to begin with. And my guess is the oil company’s lawyers have hashed all the legalities out over the past five years while they planned this fracking business. If they haven’t, you still won’t beat them in court, because they have money and lawyers and you don’t.

Unless you do have the mineral rights and oil on your property, in which case, how do you do Mr. Clampett?

I thought I did. Looks like I’m headed into town to see if they were severed. Not exactly sure how to find that info.

OH! I just realized I have a similar question. Back in the 80s, my parents received checks from Standard Oil because they did have mineral rights (California). After they moved they stopped receiving the checks. Of course calling Standard Oil results in “No clue what you are talking about.” Short of hiring an attorney, how can I find out if my mon and my sister and I (as heirs to my dad) are owed any money from Standard?

Although the legal niceties only actually extend to where the wellbore goes and ignores movement of fluids in the subsurface. If there’s lots of fluid migration in the subsurface (and of course the whole point of fracking is to increase this) it’s possible that the well might be drawing hydrocarbons from dozens to hundreds of feet away from the wellbore. If they’re drilling right up to the edge of where they have drilling rights (which of course they usually do, particularly in horizontal wells) there’s undoubtedly some other-fella’s-milkshake-drinking going on there.

It’s probably not a huge deal, but depending on what the engineers and geologists and such decide the optimum well spacing is for the area, it’s possible that the rights-holder whose land gets drilled first might get an extra well or two (and thus the royalties from them) versus the rights-holder of the adjoining parcel. Although the economics of that are probably pretty different if you do happen to own the mineral rights under your residential-sized lot.

Incidentally, the oil and gas companies are required to report their drilling information to the state geological survey which puts it on the internet. You should be able to look up how deep they drilled, where precisely the wellbore is if it’s a horizontal well, your local formation tops, and all sorts of fun stuff like that. Stuff like the production numbers sometimes are confidential for a few months to a couple of years, but usually the actual well information is reported immediately.

According to the resources I can find online, looks like I surprisingly have mineral rights. So am I legally out of luck since the drill is not physically on my property?

I can’t answer intelligently no matter the circumstances, but I’m still not sure what you mean here. Do you mean that they moved but somehow retained mineral rights? How would that work? They rented out the house they formerly lived in?

I know that my mom and I used to live on a farm and every year she’d get a paltry check from the gas company for a natural gas pipe that traversed her property. I assume that when she sold the property, the people who bought it then proceeded to get the megabux each year.

Most states require that such payments be paid into the unclaimed property fund after a certain period of time (seven years in my state). Check with whichever government office handles unclaimed property in each possible state (where you lived before, where you moved to, where Standard Oil is/was headquartered, where the mineral rights were located, and any others that are possibly relevant). Most commonly, that’s the state treasurer, but can be the dept of revenue, state auditor, or others; in California, it’s the state controller.

Tthe National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators sponsors a multi-state search, but it does not yet include every state (notably missing for your purposes: California).

Well, with horizontal wells, the physical location of the drilling/pumping equipment isn’t necessarily a good indicator of where the wellbore is actually going (in fact they usually don’t produce from the rock directly underneath because they have to case off the vertical and curved part of the well, so they lose a certain amount of horizontal exposure.) Checking the state geologic survey’s database might tell you where precisely they’re actually drilling.

It is possible in most jurisdictions to sever the mineral rights from the property itself; you can sell the house/land but keep the mineral rights or vice versa. (Water rights and in some places air rights can also be divorced from the land itself and owned separately.)

Yes my parent severed the mineral rights to that house. I checked the unclaimed property fund for California a few years back when my dad died. Nothing there. I’ll tell my mom, she was the one curious about it.

I’m confused. How many pieces of property are we speaking of in this mineral rights discussion? Saint Cad’s mentioned a house in California that his parents used to own. While they owned this house, they received royalty checks from Standard Oil. He mentions that they sold the house but retained the subsurface mineral rights. Yet the checks stopped coming after they moved? Is that an accurate restatement of the facts?

Is there another piece of property that we’re inquiring about, besides the CA parcel?

My questions on the CA property include: why did the checks stop if your parents retained the mineral rights? Why didn’t they ask Standard Oil why the checks stopped?

OK two questions

  1. Fracking well near my current house. I have min. rights and want to know my legal rights to my milkshake.

  2. This thread reminded me of a question my mom asked me a few years back. She and my father (before the divorce) had a house (1980s) and they got checks from Standard Oil since Standard was drilling in the area. Because of this, they severed and kept the mineral rights. She stopped getting checks but still thinks SO is drilling. She wanted me to investigate if she was entitled to any money and contacting SO directly received either no response or “I have no idea what your talking about, I’ve only been here a few years.”

Both ultimately ask the same questions, how do I know if I’m owed money and if so, who do I contact to collect?

Is your house in CA too? You are sure that you have the mineral rights to the land under your home? It’s surprising that a landman hasn’t been by to try and get you to sign onto a lease then.

IME, oil companies don’t screw around with Division Order hijinks. They want the royalty owner to get their money. Usually the check comes with information about which lease or pool the royalty originates from, along with production data from which the royalty amount is generated. Is the royalty stream mentioned in the property division settlement from the divorce?

A short consultation with an Oil and Gas attorney in your jurisdiction might be beneficial. IANAL, and I am unsure whether or not CA has a mandatory pooling statute. I am also unsure whether CA has anything modifying a pure rule of capture when it comes to depletion of the minerals under a particular property, absent any overt trespass.

Colorado which I think is part of the problem. I think the state and my county give an assload of freedom to the gas companies to do what they want.

Hey here’s a question. Suppose I went to the gas company that is drilling and ask why a landsman hasn’t been by my house yet would they give me an honest answer?

FWIW, it looks like CO, unlike CA, has a forced pooling statute. See for example, this article in the Denver Post discussing it, and this law firm powerpoint presentation on the subject.

I don’t know how you would go about to determine whether you have minerals on your property and would be eligible to be included in an involuntary pool. An O&G attorney would. I’d call one, see what their charges are for a brief consultation, and see what they say.

This would be my first step. Of course, the driller is not the gas company, but they should be able to point you in the right direction.

If the gas company turns out to be Chesapeake, you might want to check recent new articles.

Well, before you get too worried. Here’s the link to the Colorado O&G lookup thing:

If you zoom into your house, all the red dots are already drilled wells which you can double click on to bring up the info. On the layers side you can also select whether you want to see pending and granted permits for new wells, and also under COOGC Data if you click on “directionals” it’ll show the wellbores of any horizontal wells, both permited and actually drilled. That should give you a pretty good idea of what’s going on in your neighborhood.

Here’s the same thing for California, although it looks like they don’t have quite as much information on the GIS interface thing: