Understanding How Mineral Rights Work in Texas

Posted on Saturday, July 22nd, 2023 at 3:18 pm    

Mineral rights are a complex and important aspect of property ownership in Texas. They refer to the ownership and rights to extract minerals, such as oil, gas, coal, and other resources, from beneath the surface of the land. Understanding mineral rights in Texas is crucial for both property owners and those involved in the oil and gas industry.

The Evolution of Mineral Rights in Texas

The concept of mineral rights can be traced back to the Spanish colonial period in Texas, when the Spanish Crown claimed ownership of all mineral interests in the territory. With the establishment of the Republic of Texas and later the State of Texas, mineral rights became an integral part of property ownership.

The history of mineral rights in Texas is closely tied to the state’s complex past, which involves indigenous populations, Spanish colonization, Mexican rule, and eventual American annexation. The concept of mineral rights in Texas has evolved significantly over time, influenced by various historical events and legal developments. Here’s how mineral rights started and evolved in Texas:

Indigenous Populations

Before European exploration, various indigenous tribes inhabited what is now Texas. These tribes had their own concepts of property rights and resource use, but they did not have a formal system of mineral rights as we understand it today.

Spanish Colonization

In the 16th century, Spanish explorers and settlers arrived in Texas, claiming the visible land for Spain. The Spanish Crown asserted its authority over the territory and distributed land grants to individuals and communities. Under this circumstance, each recipient is believed to be an original owner. These land grants included the right to use the land’s surface and subsurface resources, including minerals. However, mineral rights were not well-defined, and often, disputes arose over ownership.

Mexican Rule

Texas became a part of Mexico after gaining independence from Spain in the early 19th century. The Mexican government continued the practice of issuing land grants, including the right to exploit surface and subsurface resources. This period saw the growth of Anglo-American settlements in Texas, and some conflicts emerged between Mexican authorities and American colonists over property ownership and mineral property rights.

Texas Revolution

Tensions between American settlers and Mexican authorities led to the Texas Revolution in 1835. After winning independence from Mexico in 1836, the Republic of Texas was established, and it recognized the validity of existing land grants and mineral rights.


Annexation to the United States

Texas was annexed by the United States in 1845 and became the 28th state. Upon joining the Union, Texas retained its public land and mineral rights, and these rights were eventually transferred to the state government.

Statehood and Land Ownership

When Texas became a state, it held control over its public lands, including mineral rights, under the concept of sovereign ownership. The state had the authority to lease or sell these lands and minerals to individuals, companies, or corporations at fair market value. So, they began selling Texas mineral rights. As a result, the state government became a significant player in the management of mineral rights.

Spindletop and the Oil Boom

One of the most significant events in the history of mineral rights in Texas was the discovery of oil at Spindletop in 1901. This discovery triggered a massive oil boom in the state and marked the beginning of the modern oil and gas company. The demand for gas mineral rights skyrocketed as individuals and companies sought to profit from gas fields and oil production.

Development of Mineral Leasing

With the growing importance of oil and gas production, the state of Texas developed regulations and laws related to mineral leasing and exploration. The state established the General Land Office to manage public land and mineral rights under Texas law.

Private Ownership and Severance

Over time, many private landowners acquired land with included mineral rights. However, now in Texas, mineral rights can be “severed” from surface rights, meaning different parties can own each separately. This creates a complex legal landscape regarding mineral ownership and extraction, producing mineral rights ownership for one party separate from Texas land ownership. This also means that to sell mineral rights to a different property owner can be done independently of the surface owner.

Modern Era

As technology and the energy industry continued to advance, the extraction of minerals and hydrocarbons became more sophisticated. The state government and private landowners continued to negotiate mineral or oil and gas leases, royalty deeds, etc., further shaping the landscape of mineral rights in Texas. The negotiations can occur even after the previous owner has passed, creating mineral estates, further complicating the issues that exist between mineral estate owners.

Today, mineral rights remain a crucial aspect of the Texas economy, with a well-established legal framework governing their exploration, production, ownership, and fair value.

The Different Types of Mineral Deposits in Texas

Texas is geologically diverse, and as a result, it contains a wide variety of mineral deposits. The state’s geology includes various rock formations and geological processes that have given rise to different types of minerals contained subsurface. Some of the significant mineral deposits found in Texas include:

Oil and Natural Gas

Texas is renowned for its vast oil and natural gas reserves. The state has been a leading producer of oil and gas in the United States for many decades. These hydrocarbons are found in sedimentary rocks, primarily in the Gulf Coast Basin, Permian Basin, Eagle Ford Shale and East Texas Basin.


Texas has significant coal deposits, mainly located in the north-central and northeastern parts of the state. Coal is primarily found in sedimentary rock formations, such as the Eocene-aged Wilcox Group and the Paleocene-aged Jackson Group.


Uranium deposits are found in various areas of Texas, primarily in the Coastal Plain and Trans-Pecos regions. These deposits occur in sedimentary rocks and are of economic interest for nuclear fuel production.


Lignite, a low-grade type of coal, is found in large quantities in Texas. Major lignite deposits are located in East and Central Texas, with the largest deposits in the Gulf Coast and East Texas Basins.


Texas has abundant salt deposits, particularly in the Gulf Coast region. Salt domes are a common feature in this area and have been a significant source of table salt, industrial salt, and other salt-related products.

Limestone and Dolomite

Extensive limestone and dolomite formations are found throughout Texas. These rocks are widely used in the construction industry for road base, concrete, and other building materials.


Gypsum deposits are present in parts of West Texas, including the Trans-Pecos and High Plains regions. Gypsum is essential in the construction and agricultural industries.


Texas is a significant producer of barite, which is used in oil and gas drilling muds as a weighting agent. The largest deposits are found in the central and western parts of the state.


Potash deposits are present in West Texas, primarily in the Permian Basin. Potash is an important source of potassium used in fertilizers.


Texas has copper deposits in various regions, including the Trans-Pecos and Llano Uplift. However, copper production in the state is relatively limited compared to other minerals.


Mercury deposits have been historically significant in Texas, particularly in the Terlingua district in West Texas. However, mercury mining has decreased significantly due to environmental concerns.


Texas has a variety of gemstones, including topaz, agate, turquoise, and opal. These gemstones are found in different parts of the state and attract interest from collectors and jewelry makers.

It’s important to note that the presence, economic viability, and mineral rights value of these mineral deposits can vary widely across different regions in Texas.

Different Types of Mineral Rights in Texas

In Texas, there are two main types of mineral rights: severed mineral rights and executive rights. Severed mineral rights refer to the situation where the ownership of minerals has been separated from the surface estate. Executive rights, on the other hand, pertain to the right to lease or sell the minerals.


Severed Mineral Rights

Severed mineral rights refer to the situation where the ownership of the surface rights and mineral rights of a property are held by different individuals or entities. This separation of ownership can occur through various means, such as historical land grants, deeds, or previous property owners’ sales or transfers of mineral rights. When mineral rights are severed, the mineral owner retains the exclusive right to explore, extract, and profit from the minerals (e.g., oil, gas, coal, uranium) found underneath the land, while the surface owner retains ownership and control over the surface of the property.

The surface owner’s rights are subject to certain limitations imposed by the mineral owner’s activities. For example, the mineral owner may have the right to access the property to conduct exploration or extraction operations. However, they must typically do so in a manner that minimizes disruption to the surface owner’s use of the land.

Severed mineral rights can create complex legal and financial arrangements, especially when the surface owner and mineral owner have conflicting interests. In such cases, they may need to negotiate leases or other agreements to ensure fair compensation and address potential environmental and land use issues. Sometimes the use of an oil and gas attorney may be helpful in resolving disputes.

Executive Rights

Executive rights are a subset of mineral rights that pertain specifically to the right to negotiate and execute leases for the exploration and production of minerals. The owner of executive rights has the authority to lease the mineral rights to oil and gas companies or other mineral developers. This right can be held separately from both surface rights and actual mineral ownership. This is an example of how an oil and gas lease can become very complicated.

For example, suppose the mineral rights were severed from the surface rights, and a separate entity or individual acquired the executive rights. In that case, they would have the power to lease the minerals to a third party and collect lease bonuses and royalty payments, even though they may not directly own the minerals themselves.

Executive rights can add an additional layer of complexity to mineral rights ownership and royalty owners, especially if different parties hold various rights to the same property. The owner of executive rights must act in the best interest of the mineral owner while negotiating leases, as they have the authority to make binding agreements on behalf of the mineral owner.

In Texas, it is not uncommon for multiple parties to hold different combinations of severed mineral rights, surface rights, and executive rights for the same piece of property. This can lead to intricate legal arrangements and negotiations, particularly when mineral development becomes a significant economic factor in a region.

Contact a Mineral Rights Professional Today!

Understanding how mineral rights work in Texas can be overwhelming. The legal framework is complex, ownership boundaries can be unclear, and knowing what to do as a mineral estate or owner can be hard. Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone. Our mineral rights brokers can help you, your business, or your family navigate this complex landscape. Contact us today or call at (512) 698-2802.

Ownership of Mineral Rights: How do I know who owns the rights? How do I go about selling them?

Posted on Thursday, August 31st, 2017 at 9:37 pm    

If you are a property owner in an area that has precious resources like oil, gas, or minerals, you may consider the immediate revenue that your land can provide you and your family if you were to sell the rights to your land to companies that are waiting to pay top dollar for the right to access those resources. The team at Mineral Auction know that the value of your land can be a long-lasting benefit to you and your family members if managed correctly, so we have focused on connecting property owners with our impressive list of over 11,000 buyers who are interested in purchasing the rights to your land. We bring vetted, interested buyers to you, and help you secure your financial future.

While many people know exactly the ownership status of their land, or who is in charge of granting access to it, property ownership is not always so clearly defined for other families. There may be a debate over who truly owns the land, who has the rights to it, or who is in control of decisions that concern a larger family’s property. We will discuss in the sections below how to find out who has legal ownership of a property and how mineral rights can be granted once that has been cleared up.

If you are looking to get the most value out of your land and take advantage of the current energy and natural gas boom in the United States, now is a great time to discuss auctioning off the rights to your land. With our extensive list of interested buyers, we know that it doesn’t make financial sense to only offer it to them directly. Instead, we put your rights up for auction so that our group of interested buyers can compete against each other for the rights. Who does this benefit, you ask? It benefits you, the property owner, who will get the absolute best price, driven up at auction by qualified buyers. Contact us at (512) 698-2802, email us through our website’s contact form, or email us directly to get started today.

Finding Your Mineral Rights Records

It is important to do a thorough search for mineral rights records because it is not always as simple as finding who owns a particular property. In fact, in some cases, the landowner is not always the person who holds the mineral rights, even if they have an official deed to the property. When new property owners purchase a piece of land, they should be informed of existing rights. Otherwise, the rights are automatically transferred over to the new owners of the property. In particular cases, though, especially with the first oil and gas companies in this country, a company may have retained the rights to the minerals and resources on a given property, even after selling the ground property (where a home might sit) for settlement. The companies would allow people to purchase the property, all while keeping the rights to mine on that land at a later date and time.

Common ways to research mineral rights include:

  • Reviewing County Records and Tax Assessor’s Documents – By performing a title deed search at the county records office, you can see the ownership history of any particular property over time. If a gas and oil company ever owned the property in the past, this might be an indicator that they may have retained the rights over time. The deed will probably not have a clear sign of mineral rights, so you may have to do some more intricate research, but this is a good start for most people to find out who has the rights to their property.
  • Loan Default and Foreclosures – If a property has ever gone through foreclosure or if an owner has ever defaulted on a loan, the bank has taken control of the property, including the mineral rights to that property. If the property was sold at auction, the bank might have neglected to transfer the mineral rights to the new owner, so this is an important item to research and note.
  • Royalty Deeds – On certain properties, an owner may have issued a royalty deed, which allows the owner to collect a “royalty” on minerals that are mined from their property.
  • Title Company Search – Title companies, can do focused searches to find out who has mineral rights to your property. While you may be able to do this yourself and title companies typically charge a fee for this service; sometimes it is worth paying a nominal fee to have a professional search the official records for you.

Frequently Asked Property Ownership Questions

It is not uncommon for property owners to be unfamiliar with the specific laws, terms, and regulations regarding the details of their property, especially when it comes to mineral rights. Below are a few frequently asked questions that people have when it comes to property ownership:

What happens if there is a dispute over rights?

In certain cases, a company may fail to pay royalties that it owes to royalty deed owners, or there may be a dispute over who owns or controls the land. In cases like this, property owners or deed-holders may wish to consult an attorney to help resolve disputes, even if it means legal action. With the ownership and all of the financial benefits at stake with valuable property, it is worth going through the trouble to make sure you have complete ownership of what you are owed.

What is the difference between “surface estates” and “mineral estates”?

In Texas, there are two distinct sets of rights when it comes to land ownership, called “estates”. In some regions of the state, “surface estates” and “mineral estates” are not the same, and a party can own one of them and not necessarily own the other. An owner could sell the surface estate and retain the rights to the mineral estate, or vice-versa.

Which is dominant? The surface estate, or the mineral estate?

Again, in the state of Texas, the mineral estate is the dominant estate, according to state law. Even if the estates have been “severed”, meaning one person owns the surface and the other the mineral estate, the person who owns the mineral estate has free reign “within reason” to explore, develop, and produce oil and gas beneath the property. To learn more about surface estates and mineral estates, read more at on the official website of the Railroad Commission of Texas.

Why should I choose The Mineral Auction to handle the sale of my mineral rights?

As you can see above, the rights to the natural resources beneath your land are governed by specific rules and regulations, many of which have been around for over a century. Instead of trying to negotiate deals for yourself and work out complicated arrangements with buyers directly, consider turning to the experts who know the process and can get you the most value for the rights to your property.

When you auction the mineral rights to your land with The Mineral Auction, you stand to gain immediate financial liquidity for yourself and your family, a financial security that can last for generations to come. You can capitalize on valuable tax savings before taxes go up, or as soon as they start to drop, and you may be able to take advantage of the energy boom that we are currently experiencing. Once it is over, you may not be able to get as much for your property as you would if you had sold the rights during this time.

Our mineral rights brokers have the experience and the network of reputable, interested buyers to ensure that you get the best value for your oil and gas royalties and mineral rights. Our fees are tied directly to the price you get for your rights, so we will always strive to get you as much as possible for the rights to your land, unlike other “set-fee” companies who don’t care who wins in the end. We will pitch your rights to thousands of interested buyers all at once, saving you the hassle of having to negotiate with different buyers in a line. You will be able to rest knowing that you have an experienced broker on your side. Our trained brokers will help guide you through every step of the process and will help you maximize your profits in the end.

If you are considering selling your mineral rights, turn to the experts at The Mineral Auction today. By putting the rights to your land up for auction, you can maximize the value and realize the enormous financial benefits immediately. Contact us through our website’s contact form, by email, or call us directly at (512) 698-2802 today and get the process started.

Who might buy your mineral rights

Posted on Monday, January 9th, 2017 at 9:38 am    

Selling mineral rights is much more different than selling most items or property. It goes further than having someone pay for the item and transferring the title of ownership. When you sell your mineral rights, you are transferring all your rights to use the minerals in or underneath the property—excluding use to the buildings or surface—to the buyer. Here are some types of mineral rights buyers:

  • Mining companies – Mining companies purchase mineral rights for future reserve or for mineral extraction. They conduct the production several years after the date purchase and sometimes even later.
  • Investors – This type of buyer usually doesn’t intend to conduct the mineral extraction themselves. They are simply buying the property as an investment and will then sell it to a mining company, who will be the one to operate in the extraction.

Owners who are new in the industry and are planning to sell or lease their mineral rights in Austin can take advantage of the services of our team of professionals at The Mineral Auction. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff can assist you and help you get a better understanding of your options. Get in touch with us today at (512) 698-2802 for more information.

Cautions before selling mineral rights

Posted on Thursday, January 5th, 2017 at 2:10 pm    

The world of mineral rights is highly marketable, which is one of the reasons companies work hard in the hunt of profitable mineral resources. If you are looking to sell your mineral rights, you may want to consider the following cautions listed by SF Gate:

  • Future Value – Since mineral resources produce a lot of money, consider first the future of your mineral properties. There may come a time when its value exceeds normal expectation after you sell the rights, and you may not be the one reaping benefits.
  • Estate Planning – Mineral rights and properties may be a great monetary source for future generations. If you sell the rights, your family will not be able to benefit from future production.
  • Property Damages – Production of mineral properties often require heavy machinery and equipment. These barriers may interfere with other purposes you could have for your land, since you do not own the mineral rights anymore. When you retain mineral rights, you have sole control of your land.

If you are looking to enter the complicated world of mineral rights, please consult with our lawyers at The Mineral Auction. Call our Austin office at (512) 698-2802 to learn more about our practice.

Permian Basin: A remarkable natural gas and oil discovery

Posted on Monday, September 12th, 2016 at 9:50 am    

Oil and gas exploration company Apache, based in Houston, Texas, announced on Wednesday, September 7, that it has made a remarkable discovery in West Texas’s Permian Basin – roughly 75 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and over 3 billion barrels of oil.

The new field is situated on the southern side of the Delaware Basin, basically in Reeves County, south of New Mexico. The field is called the “Alpine High” because it is near the Davis Mountains. In effect, it’s discovery and development have increased Apache’s estimated capital spending this year to about $2 billion.

The company has pieced around 307,000 acres at around $1,300 per acre and has drilled 19 wells in the Woodford and Barnett. Apache expects to deliver a combined $4 to $20 million per well, where $3 covers each cubic foot of natural gas and $50 covers each barrel of oil.

“… as we focused on organic growth opportunities. These efforts have resulted in the identification of an immense resource that we believe will deliver significant value for our shareholders for many years,” said John J. Christmann IV, Apache’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

If you own property that has deposits of minerals or oil, you may be interested in selling the rights to those minerals. Contact The Mineral Auction at (512) 698-2802 to learn more about the benefits.

The Basics of Mineral Rights

Posted on Thursday, September 1st, 2016 at 2:33 pm    

In most countries, the government owns all rights to all mineral resources such as oil, gas, minerals, and rocks. Entities are prohibited from unearthing and selling mineral commodities without proper authorization.

However, in the United States, ownership of mineral resources, found below the surface, belong to the individuals or organizations that own the surface. This means that they own both “surface rights” and the “mineral rights.” The owner is free to lease, sell, or bequest his or her mineral rights to other people.

Most states have laws governing the transfer ownership of mineral rights, mining, and drilling activity. When you sell your mineral rights, the buyer and all future mineral rights owners will have the right to mine on the property. It is also possible that the new mineral owner’s goal is to sell the mineral rights to a mining company who will later extract the minerals for profit. Mineral rights owners can come to the land above their minerals at any time. So it may be a few years before sellers see anyone come calling for the mineral rights they’ve sold.

If your property has mineral deposits, it may be a good idea to sell your mineral rights. Contact The Mineral Auction at (512) 698-2802 to learn more about how beneficial it can be to sell your mineral rights.

Many people have oil and gas royalties that they don’t know to claim

Posted on Friday, July 8th, 2016 at 7:46 pm    

Many people have unclaimed oil and gas royalties of which they do not know about. Every state has an account of unclaimed funds that they are responsible for maintaining in situations where ownership is unclear. Among the most common reasons for the unclaimed royalties are invalid mailing addresses, simple misspellings, or a minor title issue.

In effect, this state requirement allows oil companies to give away the responsibility of administration over these oil and gas royalties after a period of three to ten years, depending on the state. At this point, any records the oil company may have are given to the state, and administering these funds is now a task for the state to handle. These funds now become part of that state’s Unclaimed Property. A separate article titled “Royalty in Suspense” gives information about how to access royalties that are not under state control.

If you’ve recently claimed a royalty and no longer want control of it, the brokers of The Mineral Auction can help you get set on the right path to selling your oil, gas, or mineral royalties. Contact us at (512) 698-2802.

How oil operators deal with mineral owners

Posted on Thursday, June 9th, 2016 at 9:01 pm    

In order to sustain the oil and gas supply needs of consumers, oil companies secure a legal contract under an “Oil, Gas, and Mineral Lease,” which allows them to tap into the rich mineral resources beneath the land of a mineral rights owner.

Under such a contract, oil companies or operators pay mineral owners for allowing them to tap into their mineral resources and mineral owners who strike a deal with oil companies automatically receive a lease bonus. Mineral rights owners under certain contracts are entitled to get an additional payment from oil companies in the form of a royalty percentage upon conducting any mineral-related activities, such as drilling. Oil companies initially make a proposal to notify the landowner and pay them before conducting any drilling activities, which may last from several days to several months.

If you are a mineral rights owner and you are planning to lease or sell your estate in the Austin area, The Mineral Auction professional team may be able to help you sell your mineral rights. Call our office at (512) 698-2802 to discover how we could help you find potential buyers.

Parsley Energy announces mineral rights acquisition

Posted on Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 at 6:03 pm    

On May 23,2016, Parsley Energy, an independent oil and natural gas company based in Austin, Texas entered into an agreement to acquire approximately 30,000 acres of mineral rights in Pecos and Reeves Counties for $280.5 million. The Southern Delaware Basin deal will cost the company $280.5 million in cash and is expected to close by July 14, 2016.

The company intends to finance the acquisition by debt and equity issuance. “Increasing netbacks per barrel of oil equivalent with no incremental capital expenditures or operating expenses elevates the return profile on the associated acreage, making it among the most compelling in our corporate portfolio,” stated Bryan Sheffield, CEO of Parsley Energy. The company has filed a registration statement (including a prospectus) with the SEC for the equity offering.

If you are looking to sell your mineral rights, the team at The Mineral Auction can help you work with some of the best and most reputable people in the business. Call today at (512) 698-2802 and you can rest assured knowing that your finances and assets are in great hands.

Tips for first time mineral rights owners

Posted on Friday, April 1st, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

Like any other business, it is important for first time mineral rights owners to have an understanding of what to expect from this ownership. This is especially true if an individual is looking to sell their mineral rights, as the marketplace can be incredibly complicated.

Interestingly, according to the Texas Landowners Association, it is not uncommon for land owners to have no idea that they are sitting on mineral rights until they are approached by a prospective buyer. So, for those who are new to the mineral rights world, the Texas Landowners Association offers the following, helpful tips:

  • Understand whether you are looking to sell OR lease your mineral rights, as these processes and outcomes are very different for mineral rights owners.
  • Never forget to negotiate when you are given an offer. Chances are your property has great value, which you stand to greatly profit from if you negotiate properly.
  • Understand market value. In the mineral rights industry, it is hard to determine the full value of your property. The best course of action is to introduce your property to many different buyers and have them compete, driving up the price of your mineral rights.
  • Determine the best time to sell or lease your mineral rights. Do not be blindsided by instant offers. Take your time and assess the situation.

At The Mineral Auction, we take the confusion out of the mineral rights selling process by putting your rights up at auction in front of our network of thousands of qualified buyers. Find out how we can help you get the best price for your mineral rights by calling us today at (512) 698-2802.

Recent Mineral Rights Posts

Understanding How Mineral Rights Work in Texas

Mineral rights are a complex and important aspect of property ownership in Texas. They refer to the ... Read More

Ownership of Mineral Rights: How do I know who owns the rights? How do I go about selling them?

If you are a property owner in an area that has precious resources like oil, gas, or minerals, you m... Read More

Who might buy your mineral rights

Selling mineral rights is much more different than selling most items or property. It goes further t... Read More

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