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What are surface owner rights?

If you own a piece of land in Texas and someone wants to drill for oil on your land, you may get excited about the potential income that may bring. However, before you get too excited, you need to know the rights you have to the property. In some cases, you may only have surface owner rights, which means that oil drilling may not be quite so lucrative.

According to MineralWise, surface rights give you the ownership rights to only the land and not what is below the land, which is the mineral rights. In this state, because there is a lot of oil underground, it is very common for surface and mineral rights to be separate. If you only have surface rights, you may get some money for the use of your land and any damage done to your land to drill. However, you will not see income from any oil found unless you own the mineral rights.

Because drilling requires going through the surface, whoever owns the surface rights does have some control over the process. However, compensation is often limited due to drilling methods that minimize damage to the land. You may get additional compensation for storage and disposal fees, but that depends on the situation.

Generally speaking, with only the surface rights, it is difficult to make a huge income off drilling on your land. You should check your property rights to see if you have surface or mineral rights or both. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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