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Oil & Gas: Home

A research guide to Oil & Gas Law for law students, bar examinees, and other researchers.

Definitions

Abstract of TitleA concise statement, usually prepared for a mortgagee or purchaser of real property, summarizing the history of a piece of land, including all conveyances, interests, liens, and encumbrances that affect title to the property. 

Bonus: A payment that is made in addition to royalties and rent as an incentive for a lessor to sign an oil-and-gas lease.

Dry Hole: – An oil or gas well that is incapable of producing enough minerals to justify the cost of completing it and putting it into production.

LandmanA person responsible for acquiring oil and gas leases, negotiating arrangements for development of leases, and managing leased properties. In this field, both men and women are commonly known as landmen.

Landowner: Someone who owns land.

Landowner’s Royalty: A share of the product or profit from real property, reserved by the grantor of a mineral lease, in exchange for the lessee's right to mine or drill on the land.

Mineral Lease: A lease in which the lessee has the right to explore for and extract oil, gas, or other minerals. The rent usually is based on the amount or value of the minerals extracted.

Mineral InterestThe right to search for, develop, and remove minerals from land or to receive a royalty based on the production of minerals. Mineral interests are granted by an oil-and-gas lease.

Surface Interest: Every right in real property other than the mineral interest. • The surface-interest owner has the right to the surface subject to the right of the mineral-interest owner to use the surface. The surface-interest owner is entitled to all whatever nonmineral substances are found in or under the soil.

Working Interest: The rights to the mineral interest granted by an oil-and-gas lease, so called because the lessee acquires the right to work on the leased property to search, develop, and produce oil and gas, as well as the obligation to pay all costs. 

All definitions are from Black's Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019).

Introduction

Oil and Gas Law in the United States is the branch of law that pertains to the acquisition and ownership rights in oil and gas both under the soil before discovery and after its capture, and adjudication regarding those rights.

The law regulating oil and gas ownership in the U.S. generally differs considerably from laws in Europe because oil and gas are often owned privately in the U.S. as opposed to being owned by the national government in numerous other countries. In the U.S., extraction of oil and gas is by and large regulated by the individual states through statutes and common law. Federal and constitutional laws do apply as well.

Oil and Gas Law, HG.org, http://www.hg.org/oil-and-gas-law.html (last visited on 11/03/2015).

Subject Guide

Websites

American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources: This website provides trending information and ABA resources related to energy and environmental law.

Department of Energy, Energy.gov: Sponsored by the Department of Energy, this website provides trending news about energy, as well as resources and data related to energy technology and innovations.

Texas Constitution and Statutes: Sponsored by the Texas Legislature Online, this website provides access to the Natural Resources Code. Use the drop down menu to view the Code.

U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Oil and Gas: This website for the BLM Oil and Gas Management program provides statistical and regulatory information about the federal regulation of oil and gas in the United States.