You may be eager to sign the lease with the oil and gas operator so drilling can begin on your Texas property. However, before you sign anything, you should consider adding one or more clauses within the lease to address surface damage. explains a few of the common surface damage clauses.

No surface operations

This does not necessarily mean that you do not want any surface operations at all, although that can be the case. You may want to eliminate the potential for certain types of operations, though. For example, you may want to keep the drilling company from putting wells directly on your property, or you may want to limit the operations so that there are no pipelines, no seismic activity or no roads. You could also use this clause to limit activities to a certain portion of your land and keep the rest untouched.

Location approval

Maybe you want to protect your property, but you are open to discussion about where the activity will take place. The geologist may recommend a site that is not your first choice, but that you can live with, or the best site for drilling may be too near your home or your barns. Including a location approval clause allows you to decide where the action will happen.

Water-related clauses

Drilling and production require water. You and the oil company need to identify exactly which of your water resources it has the right to use through a water usage clause. You may want payment from the company for its water usage.

The company should test your ground water before drilling and after to make sure there is no damage to your water, and there should be a clause requiring the company to correct any issues it has caused.

Other considerations

Land reclamation, altered production capacity, equipment storage and takeaway, ingress and egress during production, salt water disposal wells and other factors should also be addressed in the contract. Many issues will be unique to your situation, so this general information should not be considered legal advice.