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.

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.

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.

Understanding the Different Types of Ownership

Posted on Monday, February 1st, 2016 at 5:22 pm    

According to Mineral Rights Coach, there are four types of mineral rights ownership. For your convenience and understanding, we have covered them here.

The first is mineral interest. Typically, a mineral interest owner is entitled to enter and exit the property. This owner may also be able to reasonably use the surface for conducting exploratory operations as well as producing and drilling for oil and gas.

The second is royalty interest. This happens when the mineral rights are leased, this type of owner is considered to hold a non-working interest. It often involves an owner who obtains a share after a lease agreement with another party has been signed.

The third is working interest. This type of ownership occurs when the property is leased, and the owner is responsible for all of the drilling, operation, development, and exploration of the property. The revenue share for this ownership is the amount left after taking out royalty interest and other non-working interest shares.

The fourth and final is overriding royalty interests. This involves the acquisition of a portion of the revenues from oil and gas production, and it is free of production costs. The ownership expires as soon as the lease is abandoned at the end of production.

If you are considering selling or leasing your mineral rights in Austin, you can consult with our team of professionals at The Mineral Auction to get a better understanding of your options. Contact us today at (512) 698-2802.

Tips for Mineral Owners

Posted on Sunday, January 24th, 2016 at 4:12 pm    

Learning about the market and how to sell mineral rights may be overwhelming, especially to a first-time mineral rights owner. That’s why the US Mineral Exchange sought to help mineral owners obtain the maximum value for their property by providing the following tips:

  • Provide all documentation
  • Steer clear of common mistakes
  • Learn the basics of mineral rights value
  • Understand the market value
  • Know that  only selling half of your mineral rights is an option
  • Never take the first offer, and study the offers well before deciding
  • Do not take unsolicited offers to sell your mineral rights
  • Get help from professionals
  • Option agreements are usually red flags

Owners, especially those who are new in the industry, may benefit from the years of experience and expertise our team of professionals can offer. If you are looking to sell your mineral rights, consult with The Mineral Auction team before making any major decisions. We understand the complexity of the world of mineral rights, and we want to help you get the best deal possible for your property. Call our Austin office at (512) 698-2802 today.

Your Rights as a Mineral Estate Owner

Posted on Monday, January 4th, 2016 at 5:54 pm    

America’s policies regarding mineral rights favor the property owners by giving them the right to do what they will with the resources on their land. This has been great for Texas land owners, as our state has had a rich history of mineral production since 1869. Approximately two thirds of Texas actively produces oil, and the state actually produced about 35% of the country’s overall oil output in 2013.

When a new reserve of minerals is discovered on land in Texas, the current owner of that land automatically comes into possession of the full rights to all the minerals that may be found there. Only in instances where previous property owners retained surface or mineral rights will a current owner not be given possession of these rights. Records of mineral right ownership are kept in local county clerk’s offices and available to all upon request.

There have also been many cases where landowners were not aware that minerals existed on their property until oil and gas companies brought it to their attention with inquiries and monetary offers.

If you are looking to sell your mineral rights in Texas, the professionals at The Mineral Auction can help you find buyers and secure the best deal available. Call us at (512) 698-2802 today to learn more.

The Varying Values of Mineral Rights For Sale

Posted on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015 at 2:04 pm    

In a recent article from MineralWise, the author compared the process of estimating the value of minerals to meteorologists predicting the weather, saying that both are subject to a number of factors and can vary widely.

Firstly, mineral rights vary by location. The value of minerals on your land will be higher if those minerals are located close to build-ups of hydrocarbon underground. Geology can vary greatly from region to region, and even from small areas; therefore, a big part of finding high-value minerals on your property is luck.

Another factor in the value of your mineral rights will be the size or amount of minerals on your land. Companies will naturally be more inclined to spend higher amounts on larger caches of product. This, again, is almost entirely up to luck.

A third aspect to valuation of your minerals will be the economy. Commodity prices will determine how much a company wants to spend on whichever mineral you possess, and certain elements are simply worth more than others.

While much of selling mineral rights has to do with being lucky enough to find a rich well on your land, one thing that you don’t have to leave up to fortune is finding a skilled and knowledgeable mineral rights broker to help you sell your minerals for a high dollar. At The Mineral Auction, our team understands the business of putting rights up for sale, and we work to ensure that you will be happy with the deal you end up making. To learn more from our experts, call (512) 698-2802 today.

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