Oil & Gas Rights Q&A

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  • 3 Common Questions from CO and WY Land Owners

The oil and gas attorneys at McDonough Law receive a lot of questions from landowners about oil and gas rights. If you own land in Colorado or Wyoming, there is a good chance that you are sitting on oil or natural gas. Whether or not you own the rights to those natural minerals is an important legal determination, especially as business in that industry continues to boom.

Here, are three of the most common questions we receive about oil and gas rights.

If I own the land, do I also own the minerals?

Surface land and mineral estates are legally defined as two separate things. In other words, you can own the surface of your land, but not the mineral rights to anything found below the surface; including minerals like oil and gas.

If you own both the surface land and the mineral rights, it is known as a ‘fee simple ownership.’ However, if the mineral rights were ever separated from the surface use through a deed, it created a ‘split estate’.  

Unfortunately, determining if you have fee simple ownership or a split estate can sometimes be difficult. Deeds are not always properly recorded or conveyed in purchase agreements or estates and trusts, which means that the mineral rights may have been deeded years ago but were long forgotten in the paper trail. A proper land title search is usually necessary.

If you need help determining whether you own minerals you should speak with an experienced oil and gas attorney from McDonough Law LLC. A full-service law firm with a depth of knowledge, Crystal McDonough and her team can help you understand your property rights and determine exactly how much you own.

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