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. These safeguards require surface owners to be informed of things such as the start date of drilling, a copy of the operating plan, contact information for the operator, etc. They also require compensation for certain surface disorders such as the installation of pipes. Counsel explained to me that if debtors and a surface owner cannot agree on the terms of a surface use contract, debtors still have access to the surface land to the extent necessary to use the mineral property under implicit relief. A Surface Use Agreement (OAS) is a contract between the surface owner and the leasing taker (usually oil and gas companies) for an oil and gas lease. This contract describes the rights, obligations and obligations of the landowner and the operator, including the size of the surface disturbances that will be permitted during the construction of well and road cladding, and compensation for any property damage caused by the operator. This agreement helps to resolve ambiguities and uncertainties for both parties. Some states need it before a well can be drilled. Listen to this episode to learn how to negotiate a Surface Use Agreement (SUA). 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 respectful and realistic. Because oil and gas companies are not required to sign a Surface Use Agreement, surface owners are not in a negotiating position. This is important when you talk to the company and ask questions. By respecting the company representative and realistic about the conditions that should be included, a surface owner is much more likely to get a surface use agreement.
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. Surface Use Agreements: “SUA” is a written contract that defines the pipeline or gas company`s ability to use the surface of your property. Look for leasing arrangements. If there are already oil and gas leasing provisions that require compensation or protection for the surface owner, this is ideal. These provisions should be applied and can give the owner a good starting point to demand appropriate compensation from the lessor.