When you live in Texas, the big American dream might be to strike oil. When it comes to land ownership, there are two categories. You can be a surface owner and a mineral owner. By default, when you purchase land, you generally purchase the surface and mineral rights. As per the laws in Texas, however, you can sever mineral estate from surface estate.
The Eagle suggests that a person can own the rights to the surface whereas another person has the right to use any minerals beneath the property. In Texas, oil and gas tend to be the minerals that lend to these debates. There are many different ways to split properties because you can sell mineral and surface estate together or apart. What happens when you sell mineral rights?
In the case of mineral rights, the law determines that the mineral estate is dominant and the surface estate is the servient estate. The mineral estate has different rights than surface. The surface estate has to serve the mineral estate. Mineral owners have an implied right to the surface in order to explore, develop, produce, market or drill minerals. They do have limitations, however.
Mineral estate owners cannot cause unnecessary damage to the surface, may not act negligently and must inform the owners of an intent to enter the property. A surface estate owner may use surface protections in an agreement with the mineral estate owner to ensure that his or her property has protection in place.
The information presented here is only to inform on whether mineral and surface rights can sell separately and is not legal advice.