Community Resources

Landowner Rights

Private property ownership in Texas is a bedrock principle. Private property ownership accounts for 95 percent of all land holdings in the state. In the context of oil and natural gas, a property owner may own the minerals under the land. If the property owner severs mineral ownership from surface ownership, two types of estates are created: a mineral estate and a surface estate. When this occurs, legal rights and responsibilities flow to each, separate estate.
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Mineral Owner Rights

Ownership of the mineral estate includes five essential rights: 1) to develop 2) to lease 3) to receive bonus payments 4) to receive delay rentals and 5) to receive royalty payments.

If the mineral owner decides to develop the estate himself,

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Surface Owner Rights

Except in narrow circumstances, the severed surface owner does not have the right to participate in or control the development of the minerals underneath the property.  Still, many oil and natural gas leases today contain provisions expressly providing for compensation or other benefits to the owner surface estate. 

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