Are Oil & Gas Companies Required to Pay for Damages to my Lands?

The short answer is yes they are.

While the surface estate is subservient to the mineral estate, that does not mean that oil & gas companies can access your surface and do as they please without paying for the damages they cause.This should be inclusive of roads, pipelines, drilling locations, tank battery sites, and other disturbed lands.

Should you own both the surface and minerals I would highly advise you to have a surface use agreement that you have the company sign when they lease your minerals which clearly defines how the company can use the surface and exactly what damages are to be paid. I would also advise that this agreement be recorded in the county records with the lease.

While the oil companies are required to pay damages there is a wide variation to their willingness to pay adequately and when there is a disagreement it will have to be left up to the courts to decide the issue. You avoid this hassle and cost by negotiating the surface use agreement up front.

For more information on mineral rights, contact us today.

Dirk Dieterich is a 1978 graduate of Texas Tech with a bachelors degree in finance. After graduation he accepted a landman position with Hunt Energy and moved to Bismarck, North Dakota where he spent two years learning the field end of the petroleum land business. He was then transferred to Midland, Texas where he was promoted to District Land Manager before leaving the corporate world in 1981. He then cofounded an oil & gas exploration company that is still in existence today. Since that time he has either founded or bought over 20 companies mostly with diversified roots in the oil & gas industry. These companies include a natural gas measurement business, a dry flow meter manufacturing business, an environmental consulting business,a mineral/royalty acquisition business and a company which is developing infinitely variable transmissions for oilfield pump jacks. He is currently an owner and/or officer in 5 separate small businesses and is on the advisory board for his alma mater, the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University, which is the largest business college in the US.

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