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.

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.

Texas nearly the biggest natural gas producer in the world

Posted on Thursday, June 18th, 2015 at 3:54 pm    

Thanks to the state’s current energy boom, Texas has outranked almost all countries in the world when it comes to natural gas production, The Daily Caller reported on May 29.

With 18.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas being produced every day, Texas falls behind only Russia and the entire United States in terms of natural gas production. A graph released by the American Petroleum Institute also showed that the Lone Star State managed to outplay all member-nations of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), including Saudi Arabia and Algeria.

Texas as the forefront of natural gas production only means that the best time to get the most out of the energy boom is today. If you are planning to sell your mineral rights, our team of mineral rights brokers at The Mineral Auction has the resources and the experience to help you sell your rights at the best possible price. Call us at (512) 698-2802 today.

Enterprise to buy Reliance and Pioneer’s EFS Midstream

Posted on Wednesday, June 10th, 2015 at 2:19 pm    

Houston-based midstream energy services provider Enterprise Products Partners LP has announced it will purchase the Eagle Ford Shale Midstream system (EFS Midstream) of Dallas-based Reliance Industries Ltd. and Mumbai-based Pioneer Natural Resources Co. for $2.15 billion, Bloomberg Business reported on June 1.

According to the agreement, Enterprise will pay the sellers in two installments. $1.15 billion will be paid upon the deal’s closure, while the remaining $1 billion will be paid 12 months after the closing. EFS Midstream is a provider of services in the petroleum industry’s midstream section, which comprises transportation, storage, and marketing of petroleum products. EFS Midstream is currently operating in the oil-rich Eagle Ford region.

The rising number of petroleum industry players who want to expand their business portfolio indicates how promising the energy sector is today and in the near future. If you are a mineral rights owner in Texas, selling your rights upfront would enable you to benefit from this current energy boom. To learn more about selling your mineral rights, consult with our team of mineral rights broker at The Mineral Auction by calling (512) 698-2802 today.

America’s drilling scene slowly recovering from the bust

Posted on Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 at 2:42 pm    

Although the past months have been rough for the oil and gas industry due to plummeting prices of oil, economists say the country’s oil drilling boom is slowly beginning to come back to life, Bloomberg Business reported on May 9.

The CEO of energy data provider Drillinginfo said the country’s rig count may increase to up to 1,300 if the prices of oil rise above $70 per barrel. The Permian Basin in Texas is projected to be the first area to recover from the bust. This is due to the multi-stacked production zones that allow players to drill oil at varying depths through a single well.

Evidence here and there suggests that the country’s drilling boom is not yet over, and selling your mineral rights upfront would enable you to get the most out of it without having to worry about fluctuating oil prices or the threat of a bust. To learn more about selling your mineral rights, consult with our mineral rights broker at The Mineral Auction by calling (512) 698-2802 today.

U.S. was the biggest oil producer in the world in 2014

Posted on Monday, April 20th, 2015 at 4:37 pm    

Despite a significant fall in crude oil prices in the second half of 2014, the United States was still the world’s undisputed biggest producer of oil and natural gas hydrocarbon last year, the Climate Spectator revealed on April 9.

The report said the boost in production was due to the country’s aggressive exploration and drilling of shale gas and tight oil formation, specifically in the states of North Dakota and Texas. The country was able to boost its petroleum production by 3 quadrillion British thermal unit (Btu), or 1.6 million barrels per day, and its natural gas production by 5 quadrillion Btu, or 13.9 billion cubic feet per day.

On the other hand, petroleum and natural gas production in two other competing countries, Russia and Saudi Arabia, has remained unchanged for several years.

The country’s impressive oil and natural gas production further testifies that you can get the most out of your mineral rights by selling it today. To learn more about getting the highest possible value for your mineral rights sale, speak with our team of mineral rights brokers at The Mineral Auction by calling (512) 698-2802 today.

Texas oil and natural gas industry pays record taxes, royalties

Posted on Monday, March 16th, 2015 at 1:57 pm    

The skyrocketing energy production in Texas allowed the state’s oil and natural gas industry to pay record-high amounts in taxes and royalties last year, a report by the Victoria Advocate stated on February 24.

Data released by the Texas Oil and Gas Association showed that the state’s oil and gas industry has contributed $15.7 billion to the state in terms of royalty payments and taxes. Association president Todd Staples said these payments are being used to fund schools, children’s health insurance, and public services, among many other important community projects.

The report further added that the state’s vibrant energy sector directly employs 418,000 Texans, while indirectly providing jobs for another 1.8 million individuals across the state.

Indeed, the continuous growth of Texas’ oil and gas industry benefits not only its direct stakeholders, but also the community in which it thrives. If you want to know more about how to benefit from this boom by selling your mineral rights, the team at The Mineral Auction can help you. Call us at (512) 698-2802 to learn more about selling your mineral rights for the highest value possible.

Why Texas is the best place to be for oil exploration and production

Posted on Monday, March 2nd, 2015 at 3:39 pm    

Over recent years, Texas has been among the most attractive places to explore and invest in petroleum, coal, oil, and natural gas. Investors and other major players in the energy business continue to eye the state as a place where the energy sector’s full potential for growth and revenue could be realized.

Rich energy reserves are Texas’ greatest comparative advantage. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Texas has the highest crude oil reserve in the country, and is also its number one producer. The EIA added that nearly a third of the top 100 gas-producing fields in the country are located in Texas. When it comes to coal production, Texas ranks first among the largest producer of lignite, a type of coal used to generate power.

These are just a few of the many reasons why investors continue to capitalize on Texas’ energy sector. If you want to take part in this economic trend by selling your mineral rights, our team of mineral rights brokers at The Mineral Auction can help you make the most out its value. Call us at (512) 698-2802 to know more about our services.

Hillcrest’s production rises after Gulfsands acquisition

Posted on Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 at 3:56 pm    

Hillcrest Resources Ltd. announced that on December 19, it completed the purchase of Texas-based Gulfsands Petroleum USA, according to a press statement published by the Marketwatch on January 20.

The purchase caused Hillcrest’s production to increase by approximately 171 barrels of oil per day (bopd) and 420 thousand cubic feet of gas per day. The company also said that apart from increased oil and gas production, it identified four new infill drilling locations and also continued their well re-completion and maintenance projects.

The newly-sealed deal also relocates Hillcrest’s main office to Houston,TX. According to Hillcrest CEO and Chairman Don Currie, the change of address would move their headquarters to a location nearer to their production facilities and would also streamline administrative responsibilities and operations.

Major players in the oil and gas industry are switching to their newest location of interest – Texas. If you want to take part in this economic boom by selling your mineral rights, speak with our team of mineral rights brokers at The Mineral Auction by calling (512) 698-2802 today.

Anadarko partners with KKR & Co. in developing Eaglebine acreage

Posted on Thursday, October 30th, 2014 at 6:50 pm    

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation is partnering with New York-based private equity firm KKR & Co. in a bid to develop its acreage across East Texas, Bloomberg reported on October 29.

An investment of $442 million has been provided by the KKR & Co. to fund the drilling of more than 500 oil and gas wells in the Eaglebine field, an oil- and gas-rich region northeast of Houston. A University of Houston lecturer on energy economics said the joint venture will help Anadarko expedite oil and gas drilling activities and secure its leased lands without having to lose much of its own funds.

An ever-increasing volume of investment in oil and gas sector means a robust public and business confidence in the industry. If you are planning to take part in the oil and gas boom in Texas by selling your mineral rights, consult with a broker at The Mineral Auction by calling (512) 698-2802 today.

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