I am new to this whole thing and didn't even realize we had any interests in the O&G boom that has taken hold here. This past Saturday our family discovered that we own Oil and Gas mineral interests in Noble County. These were inherited from my grandfather. The family members affected were all sent a certified letter from an attorney representing the real landowners that wants to declare the interests abandoned. We have done some checking and see that we can file for an affidavit of preservation. Has anyone else encountered this problem? Does anyone have any advice?
I just don't know what we can do for cabbage patch people.
Here is a link to an Ohio State University Extension publication on the subject:
I have read this article. Thank you very much though. If it wasn't much, we wouldn't bother with it, but it's apparently over 100 acres. I know we need to get an attorney to help us with this. Just wasn't sure if anyone else has ran into this or if anyone can recommend a good attorney.
This also looks to be a very good article. Read about half way down the page and it says:
"Once a Notice of Abandonment is served, the surface owner is required to file an Affidavit of Abandonment in the Recorder’s office identifying the oil and gas reservation at issue and the surface owner’s intent to have the oil and gas reservation abandoned. The owner of the reserved oil and gas rights has a period of 60 days after receiving the Notice of Abandonment in which to file an affidavit declaring his/her intent to retain the oil and gas rights. If the owner of the reserved oil and gas rights timely files an affidavit, then the oil and gas rights remain in the owner’s name. "
The clock is ticking:
"Once a Notice of Abandonment is served, the surface owner is required to file an Affidavit of Abandonment in the Recorder’s office identifying the oil and gas reservation at issue and the surface owner’s intent to have the oil and gas reservation abandoned. The owner of the reserved oil and gas rights has a period of 60 days after receiving the Notice of Abandonment in which to file an affidavit declaring his/her intent to retain the oil and gas rights. "
Research the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act - 1989.
I humbly suggest that you consult an Attorney in Noble County who has O & G experience.
I do not believe that you would want the clock to run out on your Family; the O & G Mineral rights could potentially be very valuable. Your gradfather (bless his soul) wanted these interests to remain in the Family; honor that man's wisedom and kind gift from the grave.
It looks like a number of people were all typing at the same time, sorry for the redundancy.
It's okay. Thank you so much for everyone's advice. The last few days have been a whirlwind as far as getting in touch with the right people and finding out what the correct next step is. I have gotten in touch with an attorney and have a meeting scheduled this week.
I feel like my grandfather and great grandfather were pretty smart men to have reserved these rights. The issue I am running into now is a little more complicated. Apparently, the coal company that now owns all of this surface land, has already entered into a lease with an O&G company. That company has a representative contacting those of us family members who are involved. This whole situation is so complex. I am really hoping that after the meeting with the lawyer, some of these things will be more clear. Thanks again everyone for the info and articles.
Congratulations, it looks like you are quickly getting matters under your full control.
RE: "Apparently, the coal company that now owns all of this surface land, has already entered into a lease with an O&G company. That company has a representative contacting those of us family members who are involved."
A possibility that I suggest is that (while doing their due dilligence) the O & G Company discovered that the O & G rights had been severed and the Coal Company did not have the right to lease. If my guess (and a guess it is) is correct, the Coal Company is attempting to obtain ownership by virtue of the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act. If, as I suspect, the defect in ownership was discovered during the early days of the deed search, there has been no payment to the Coal Company - and the lease has not been duely executed.
What you know is that an O & G Company are interested in leasing your Family's O & G rights and the surface owner (the Coal Company) is attempting to capture and abscond with your Family's O & G rights.
It might be to your benefit to attempt to discover the name of the O & G company that is currently attempting to lease and (if possible) discover the terms of that lease; there might be some record in the Noble County Recorders Office. In any case, this is a small part of what an Attorney should do for you.
With 100 acres, your Family might be in possession of what could turn out to be a big "Lottery Ticket".
If you would be so kind, please let us know how things turn out.
We are here to learn, and I suspect that your story will be educational to some on this site. Also, we all like to hear of success stories, as I fully expect yours to be.
Best of luck, we are rooting for you,
Thank you so much Jack, I will always honer my Grandfather and Great Grandfather, I am also a Granddaughter to all this new news.....
Do you know if and when the action was filed? Time is of the essence as you have 60 days to respond. And I don't know how that will work with all the descendants involved. There may be dozens of people involved scattered across the planet. Does everyone have to be contacted to stop the action? Do they all have to agree on a course of action? Can you save just your share of the rights if others are not found in time? Or can your filing a counter claim add time to find all the descendants? What happens to the portions that the heirs cannot be found?
Just a few questions I can think of to ask an attorney.
If no one has told you, these acres may be worth $5000/acre or more just for a signing bonus. And if and when wells are drilled, it may be worth ten times that over the lifetime of the wells (30 40 yrs)...or more. Definitely worth fighting for.
Fantastic questions to ask! Many of them I have on my list already. As far as the descendants go, there aren't many. I went to the recorders office myself in Noble county today. I was able to find some of the deeds and wills involved. I know there will be more to look into of course...but on the surface, it doesn't appear that there will be a need for an intensive descendant search.
I have been told some figures as far as the lease the actual landowners either already have or are in the process of acquiring. They are in line with what you're speaking of. I just know there's a lot involved in those leases as well.
Thank you so much for the great questions!
Okay, so after reading the above article, my heart sank a little bit.
Wiseman relied on Ohio’s Dormant Mineral Act of 1989, Ohio Revised Code, 5301.56. Under the original statute, if an owner of a mineral interest fails to take certain actions concerning the severed interest for 20 years it is considered abandoned and automatically reverts back to the landowner