Just getting started on this site, hopefully someone can clear a few things up. In PA. what is the legal differance between oil/gas rites AND mineral rites? Does Marcellus and Utica drilling fall under mineral or the gas/oil rites.


Any help is appreciated.


Thanx, Mark

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Pa separates oil and gas rights with mineral rights.  Marcellus and Utica drilling will come under the oil and gas rights.   The only time the oil and gas rights are with the mineral rights is when the oil and gas are in the mineral seam that is being mined such as being in the coal seam.  Coal companies who own the mineral rights to the coal also own the oil and gas that is in the coal seam but only what is in the coal seam.  They do not own the utica or the marcellus gas and oil.

Agreed.  But bear in mind this matter is currently before the PA Supreme Court.

Your analysis is correct but it relies on Pennsylvania's Dunham rule.  And Dunham is being challenged in court right now.  If Dunham falls so will your analysis, and there will be chaos.

The question of rights where the Dunham rule is being challenged involves a case where the mineral rights and the petroleum oils were transferred.  This case wouldn't have gone forward if petroleum oils weren't included in the transfer of rights.   But you are very correct, if Dunham is overruled, it could change the entire landscape.  Companies have big money and would love to see themself owning the oil and gas rights with their mineral rights. 

In Pa. Mineral rights are seperate from gas and oil. If you bought you mineral rites in a sheriff sale they go with the it. I got mine that way.  It took the gas co. 9 months to accept this.

When you buy mineral rights on a sheriff sale they go with it.  If the owner of the mineral rights did not pay the taxes on them, The county should then post it in the local newspaper that they are going on sheriff sale. The bidding starts at what the delinkqint taxes are. Your local tax colector may not know that mineral rights are taxable.

       As you can see I can't spell.   


Maybe, maybe not.  If the seller (the owner who is delinquent) did not own the oil & gas rights, there's no way the buyer would acquire them.  When the subsurface rights are severed from the surface, the subsurface owner could own everything (minerals, gas oil) or could just own, for example, the coal.  If these rights are sold by sheriff sale, the buyer only gets what the owner had.

If the subsurface owner only had the gas & oil, nothing else, these rights would not be taxed and could not be lost by these means.  PA state law says oil & gas rights cannot be taxed.  It used to be different--I don't know when it changed.  So, in a sale for taxes, the rights must include some mineral (coal, usually) and may, or may not, also include oil & gas.  You'd have to go back to when the subsurface rights were severed to determine what was included.

Oil Gas and Mineral (OGM) rights were stopped being taxed in 2000 in Pennsylvania due to a court ruling that declared the tax illegal. (double taxation) Prior to this ruling, not all townships in PA taxed OGM's.  Therefore only some OGM's in certain townships could be potentially "bought" at a sheriff sale that had such a property tax. 

Butler County,PA has a tax on coal rights if they are severed from surface rights. I wonder if the coal rights can be sold by sheriff sale for non-payment? 

I mistyped it should be 2002.

I own multiple OGM  rights on different parcels in Clearfield Co, PA. They are severed from surface rights. I get taxed twice a yr on the rights.

I too own multiple OGM rights on different parcels in Warren Co. Pa. (Springcreek Twp).  They are also severed from the surface.  My OGM's are no longer taxed.  In 2002, the PA Supreme Court ruled oil, gas and minerals could not be taxed at the local level.  Only coal can be taxed.  This is a situation peculiar to PA. (Durham Ruling) Perhaps your land is taxed for the coal.  Here is a link to a recent story explaining this.


Ireland, You are taxed on the coal rights alone. As mentioned, no tax on oil & gas rights anywhere in PA.

Clearfield County also values coal property on a per acre basis, but does not differentiate
between property classifications (Wooster 2010). The county levies a set per acre value of $47
per acre with a minimum of $790 levied in taxes for each coal property.


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