Researching the Ownership of Oil, Gas, and Mineral Rights

When researching the ownership of oil, gas, and mineral rights, it is important to examine historical land and mineral ownership records thoroughly. This process may involve looking through the chain of title documents, which can be found in the county courthouse or through a title company. These documents show the transfer of ownership of the property and any mineral rights that have been sold or leased.1

It is common to hire a professional oil and gas landman who specializes in researching and identifying mineral rights ownership. This process is known as running title.2 In the United States, mineral rights are considered an interest in real property, and when someone dies, their assets in real property are typically transferred through a probate proceeding. In order to transfer oil, gas, and mineral interests, certain documents must be recorded in the county where those interests are located. Title research can reveal who owns the mineral rights and what percentage belongs to you.

Stack of Old Documents

In addition to examining the chain of title documents, it is also essential to determine if there are any existing leases on the property. If there is an active lease agreement, the mineral rights owner may not have the right to extract the resources, as the leaseholder has the exclusive right to do so.3

Oil Derrick at Sunrise

Another important factor to consider when researching oil, gas, and mineral rights ownership is state laws. Each state has different laws regarding mineral rights ownership, and it is essential to understand these laws to determine ownership accurately. For example, in some states, mineral rights can be severed from surface rights, while in others, they cannot.4

Ultimately, researching the ownership of oil, gas, and mineral rights requires thorough research and an understanding of state laws. In some cases, consulting with a professional may be necessary to determine ownership accurately.


1. Blackbeard Data. “Oil and Gas Mineral Rights Title Search.”

2. Mineral Wise. “Understanding What Mineral Rights You Inherited Is The First Step.”

3. Investopedia. “Mineral Rights: What You Need to Know.”

4. Mineral Wise. “State Mineral Rights.”

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