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RRC exceptions allegedly lead to theft of unleased minerals

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2021 | Gas And Mineral Law, Oil

Mineral rights represent a niche set of Texas law, but anyone with oil, gas or minerals on his or her property may want to know about them. Companies may offer property owners money to lease them.

If you choose not to lease them, a state rule may help them find a way to access them without your say.

The people and the system

According to Spectrum News, property owners struggle against oil and gas companies accessing their unleased minerals due to moneyed interests in politics. The Railroad Commission of Texas is a state agency tasked with regulating oil and gas companies — the corporations that created the commission in the first place.

In this system, people appealing against unwanted drilling on their property find that RRC arbiters side with the oil and gas companies an alleged 100% of the time due to exceptions under Rule 37.

Rule 37

This is a rule designed to ensure that companies do not drill too close to sites in order to avoid tapping into overlapping pools of minerals. However, under the rule, drillers may appeal for an exception. This exception allows them to move closer to minerals they do not own.

The RRC grants exceptions under the justification that, without the unlicensed pool, the companies may lack the pressure enough to bring gas to the surface throughout the system.

This allows them to drill into these unlicensed pools without compensating landowners.

Defending against mineral theft may sound like a complex process, but to any property owner wanting to secure their rights, it may be the best option against these companies and their drilling ambitions.