Selling oil/gas rights vs mineral rights and the confusing hydrocarbon deed to do so.

In reviewing a hydrocarbon(oil/gas) deed I've come across some weird wording and could use anyone's opinion or facts/experience on this before I take it to an attorney. 1) The deed to separate the oil/gas rights from surface rights specifically mentions "Helium" as part of the oil/gas right sale. Anyone know why?  Also, the deed says hydrocarbons and "Non-hydocarbons. The buyer claims this is due to Pa. law saying shale gas is a mineral and not a hydrocarbon. What is this about? Any one out there have a copy of a good oil/gas deed that I could look at to compare what I'm seeing? I'm trying to sell some gas/oil rights while keeping surface rights. This is turning into a nightmare with a potential separation deed that allows buyer all or most of my surface rights, including selling r/w for any pipeline projects, etc. I would like to do as much as I can before hiring an attorney in order to keep my costs down.

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Thanks you for the info Philip Brutz.

Is your property already leased? That will change would can or can't be done. 

I may be able to help a little concerning Helium. 

Helium is, of course, not a hydrocarbon; He has neither  Carbon no Hydrogen in its makeup. 

Helium IS however VERY valuable, probably 20 times the value of natural gas would not be a bad estimate. 

Helium occurs rarely, at one point the only two places known to have large (? in context, no where has LARGE) amounts of Helium were the Texas Panhandle and the Sun; and while the panhandle is hot, it's not really THAT hot.

I don't think Pennsylvania is considered a helium province, but just how much expense and/or effort id it take to include the words "and Helium" to the deed?

If I were you, I wouldn't sever my minerals (whatever they are) from my surface unless I HAD to have the money.  Letting someone else have entry/exit to and from your land, without even a duty to notify you, would be a deal breaker for me, and without those rights the "mineral rights" portion of your "bundle of stick becomes pretty valueless.

Contrary to what you were told, PA law considers shale gas to be "gas", and it's not covered by the term "minerals". Perhaps the potential buyer isn't very knowledgeable in this case. There's no need for this sale to be a nightmare - just see a good oil and gas attorney. These deeds are very easy to draft.

Thanks for your input Jack Young, I value your statements with a lot of weight. You took a load off my shoulders- appreciate it buddy. Have a great day.


My understanding is that you hope to sell your oil and gas rights while retaining your surface rights.  If that is the case, I don't like the way you appear to be going about this.  But I cannot be certain because you have not yet answered Gringo's question (above) which for me, also, is absolutely pivotal:

Is your land presently leased, or is it unleased?????

It is under lease w/ Rex who bought out SWEPI lease. I am in a production unit but just rec'd division order and no royalties to date.


Your lease eradicates my concern.  Thank you for clarifying your situation.

If you had no lease, and for others, I was going to suggest a NSD (non-surface development) lease.  It's too late for that now.  But a NSD lease, properly constructed, can facilitate separation of O&G (subsurface) and surface.  Given the existence today of horizontal drilling, an NSD lease can offer full access to one's O&G while enhancing the value of one's surface estate by ensuring no operations thereupon.  When the surface of an already-leased property eventually must be sold, buyers look more favorably upon land featuring absence of possibility of awakening one morning to find unexpectedly a drilling pad under construction in their back yard!

Good luck to you.


Thanks for saving me the typing.

No problemo, Gringo.  What we see on display here is the prototypical example of great minds thinking alike!!  :-)

Seriously now, something that has amazed me for years is the scant use of NSD leases . . by people with nice homes and properties.  It's as if they don't realize that some day they might have to sell . . . or their kids might have to sell.  And often as not it makes little difference to the gas company, at least in terms of being able to access the resource.  But if people do not know to ask about NSD, chances are the land man is not going to volunteer the information.  At least that's how things were here where I live.  Most everyone hereabouts signed a FSD (full surface development) lease. 


The notion of waking up to find a drilling pad in your back yard is completely ridiculous.  First off, they wouldn't begin setting up a well pad overnight.  Actually, first off they wouldn't just show up and start clearing period.  There's a such thing as surface owner's rights and I have never heard of a company drilling a well without at least attempting to negotiate a surface use agreement.  More often than not these agreements come to favorable terms to both sides to keep everyone happy.  With that being said, if he's leased or unleased and they did decide to take the Frank Walker method of clearing someone's property at 1 am in stealth mode and setting up a rig by sunrise; how does the lease status affect anything?  He sold his OGM for a lump sum payment.  Had he kept his royalties it would be the same thing only he would get royalty checks (well whatever the company decides to give him, that is).  Either way, the lesson of life is man up, don't be stupid and make the smart decision.  90% of people are incapable of doing this hence the reason attorney's exist.  Selling mineral rights should go no further than financial sense.  10% of leases end up in production.  Less than 1/10% of the land in Marcellus/Utica is disturbed by drill pad construction.  Who knows what percent of royalties landowners are getting "screwed" out of.  The smart landowners realized when prices were high to sell.  They then invested that money and are no longer hoping that an oil company comes along to screw them harder.  


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