Request an operational meeting. Upstream, it is a good idea to meet with the mineral tenant and have a meeting to discuss operational issues. These are things like access to the door, closed doors, work schedules, etc. Some oil and gas companies believe that surface use agreements benefit both parties and are happy to negotiate with the surface owner to avoid confrontations in the future. Setting up a meeting will allow the surface owner to determine the tenant`s willingness to cooperate. At least a surface owner can get maps and details on the extent of future operations on his land. Respect legal restrictions when using. Although there are few legal restrictions on a mineral tenant`s right to use land, some protections should be known to the landowner. First, the purchaser has the right to use only the amount of “reasonably necessary” surface land to produce oil and gas from that specific lease (or pool if pooling has occurred). If the use is greater than reasonably necessary (i.e. the owner uses water from your land to produce oil and gas on another unsurnated land), this is not permitted. Second, the hosting doctrine protects a surface owner with use of the existing surface in certain situations. More information can be found on this blog.
Finally, the oil company has no right to be negligent, which means that it is subject to an appropriate operator standard. If any of these restrictions are violated, this may be a good opportunity for the surface owner to engage in a conversation about a surface-use agreement with the lessor, who would probably prefer to sign an agreement rather than face a dispute. Most states provide oil and gas operators with access to the surface land, which transmits all the reservoirs to be drilled. Mineral products are sometimes referred to as “dominant goods.” In other words, mineral materials have the right to reach the surface area for access to hydrocarbons underground. This becomes complicated with the appearance of horizontal drilling, as minerals under the surface of the well pocket may not actually be developed, as production of production areas may be under other pathways. If the operator and the landowner are unable to agree on damages, some states grant the operator the right to continue the development, with damages to be determined in hindsight through arbitration or litigation. A Surface Use Agreement is a voluntary agreement between the surface owner and the owner/mineral tenant (usually an oil and gas company) that regulates relations between the two parties. In some countries, such as Oklahoma and New Mexico, oil and gas companies have a legal obligation to enter into these agreements before production begins. In Texas, unfortunately, there is no legal protection for surface owners. Mineralpese is not obliged to enter into such an agreement, but it is often willing to do so in order to have good cooperation with the surface owner.
In this context, owners of Texan surfaces must use any leverage to convince an oil company to enter into such an agreement. Be aware of old abandoned appliances or potential contamination problems. If this type of problem exists, it could be a starting point for a debate on the need to protect the use of the surface.