Oil & Gas
Hudson, Potts & Bernstein advises landowners, operators, and producers in all matters of oil and gas law. Whether it be transactional matters involving sales, leases and royalties, regulatory matters concerning clean-up and capping, or upstream and midstream litigation, HPB’s attorneys have the experience and expertise to protect your interest in all manners of mineral law.
Louisiana is rich in natural resources. Salt, lignite, sulfur, natural gas, and oil are a few of the mineral resources found in abundance in the state. But with this abundance also comes the necessity for regulation.
Oil and gas laws in Louisiana are somewhat different than they are in other states due to the state’s unique legal system. A legal team must have a solid understanding of Louisiana oil and gas regulations, mineral servitude and ownership, mineral leasing, and more.
At Hudson, Potts, and Bernstein, our team has the knowledge and experience to handle all aspects of oil and gas litigation. We work with landowners, operators, and producers in all matters of oil and gas law.
A mineral is any substance that occurs naturally in or as part of the soil, underlying land, or geological formations. This can include sulfur, gravel, coal, oil, and gas. It can even encompass the soil itself.
There are laws in place that govern every aspect of how humans are to handle Louisiana’s minerals. This includes ownership, sales, leasing, servitudes, and more.
Oil and Gas Regulation in Louisiana
Louisiana statutes govern minerals in the state. These statutes are known as the Louisiana Mineral Code and it is distinctly different from other states’ mineral laws. For instance, in other states, a landowner can own the minerals that are under their land.
In Louisiana, they cannot. In fact, a person can sell their property but keep certain minerals such as oil and gas.
Mineral Servitude and Ownership
Ownership of minerals begins with possession. Once the oil or gas is pumped out of the ground and put in a pipeline or tank, then it is owned by the landowner. Prior to that, while it is in the ground, the landowner has no ownership claim over it. They only have a mineral servitude.
A mineral servitude gives the landowner the right to explore and look for minerals, then bring them to the surface. Often the landowner will lease the mineral servitude to companies that are in the business of exploring the land for minerals.
The landowner retains their mineral servitude for as long as they own the surface land. If they sell the surface land but state on the deed that they are reserving all minerals then they own the minerals under the surface. However, if the servitude is not used for ten years, then the minerals pass to the current surface owner.
A mineral lease is a contract between the mineral servitude owner and another entity, giving that entity the right to explore for and produce minerals. Either party can include any provisions and terms that they want and are mutually agreed upon. Before signing any contract or lease form, whether you are the landowner or an oil company, it is highly recommended that you get legal advice. Negotiation is a right and if you want terms that you find more favorable, you should definitely pursue that.
Call Hudson, Potts, and Bernstein to schedule an appointment to discuss your rights regarding oil and gas contracts, leases, regulatory matters, sales, royalties, and more.