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Deed Question

Postby Antoine » Mon Nov 17, 2014 4:24 pm

Advertisement Expert: Frederick M. Scott - 1/3/2011 Frederick, I don't know if I asked you this before, but when we bought our property back in 1993 in West Virginia, there was an exception and reserve of all minerals. When the history was performed for the sale by an attorney, the following statement was made: "It is likely with the wording of the reservation, that this also was a coal reservation of all minerals."

A local attorney keeps pointing out to us that this does not necesarily include gas and oil. Other attorneys have also pointed out that unless there is extensive research done, there is no way that they can say for certain what minerals we may own. Yet, on the internet I keep seeing that when we say minerals in West Virginia in a deed, it automatically includes natural gas and oil whether it is specifically said in the deed or not.  Is there any way you could give me some insight? Thanks
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Deed Question

Postby Alrick » Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:33 am

I can direct you to my website for some information on PENNSYLVANIA reservations of this nature, though it may or may not be applicable to West Virginia. By reading it you may at least gain some insight into the logic of courts in general as it discusses a couple of actual court cases dealing with mineral reservations. The link is below: http://www.mineralhub.com/2010/05/reservation-of-oil-coal-and-other-minerals-in-...

If the 1993 conveyance to you reserved "all" minerals, then I would look to researching West Virginia court decisions to try and determine how they have handled reservations of "all" minerals in the past. This is likely what the attorneys were referring to when they said it would take "extensive research" to find out what minerals you actually own. Many court decisions can be found online if you use the right keywords, and many states also have websites where published opinions from court cases can be found. In Pennsylvania natural gas is probably not included in a mineral reservation of "oil, coal, and other minerals" unless it is specifically mentioned. A reservation of "all" minerals in West Virginia may or may not include natural gas. This is why I suggest you look to court decisions affecting West Virginia mineral rights for your answer, or have an attorney(who has quick access to case law you probably don't) do it for you. If your research so far on the Internet has led you to believe that in West Virginia "minerals" automatically includes natural gas and oil, then perhaps that is the case. I would check to be sure the sources of this information you found are knowledgeable sources however, before taking their opinions as fact. For me to research this in depth specifically for West Virginia would be beyond the scope of this free service, however I hope I have at least been able to point you in the right direction. I might also suggest that you contact the National Association of Royalty Owners in Tulsa, OK and see what they can tell you about mineral rights reservations in your state. Their website is http://www.naro-us.org They(NARO) recently opened an "Appalachian" chapter. I'm sure the national office in Tulsa could put you in touch with the president of their Appalachian chapter who might be able to help you with your question further. Sincerely, Frederick M. Scott CMM, RPL

Timbercreek Mineral Company, LLChttp://www.mineralhub.com

Just to add a thought, since you've apparently received an offer to lease, it's likely the company has done enough research already to convince at least themselves that you own the rights to the oil, gas, or both. You might want to contact the lessee and ask them how they determined you owned one or both substances. They may have dealt with others in similar situations.  
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