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What to Know About Oklahoma Mineral Rights

what to know about oklahoma mineral rights

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Published date:

May 24, 2024

Last updated date:

May 24, 2024

By Brent Lyday, ALC

There’s more than meets the eye when you’re buying land in Oklahoma. And as a prospective buyer, you need to pay just as much attention to what’s going on underground as what’s on the surface. 

Mineral rights are your rights as an owner to the solid and liquid resources beneath your property. This includes oil, natural gas, coal, and gold, as well as rare earth elements and metal ores. If you have mineral rights as a landowner, that means you can sell, lease, or donate those materials as you see fit – and that can be a major value driver in your investment. 

So how does it all work? We’ve put together a quick guide to Oklahoma mineral rights, including how to sell or transfer them for added profit potential. 

Mineral Rights in Oklahoma: The Basics

The state of Oklahoma treats mineral rights as real estate, meaning they’re considered real property under the law. As such, in a standard, unified purchase agreement, the owner of a piece of property also owns the resources underneath it (minus certain exclusions like sand and subsurface water). 

There are three provisions to be aware of when buying Oklahoma land, each of which has an impact on whether or not you’ll take ownership of below-ground minerals:

  • Unified estates – Buyers receive both surface and mineral rights in the sale
  • Split estates – Surface and mineral rights are owned separately and mineral rights may not transfer with the sale
  • Fractional estates – Mineral rights are divided between multiple owners

Your real estate agent will help you figure out what you’ll be getting in terms of mineral interest or ownership before you buy. Mineral rights are public record, so in most cases, you can determine who owns mineral rights on a piece of property by pulling records from the local county recorder's office or by pulling up historical tax records. 

How to Sell or Transfer Oklahoma Mineral Rights

There’s a lot of value in mineral rights, particularly for those who wish to explore for and/or extract oil or gas on their Oklahoma property. Some Oklahoma land owners choose to sell or transfer their mineral rights to capitalize on this value, exchanging ownership of sub-surface materials to a third party for a large lump payment and ongoing royalty checks. 

If selling or transferring is something you’re interested in doing, the processes for doing so are pretty simple.

  • Use a lawyer or title search company to clearly establish your ownership of the existing mineral rights
  • Work with a mineral rights broker to choose a grantee that offers you the best terms
  • Convey mineral rights to your chosen grantee by filling out a mineral deed form with your local Recorder of Deeds

Keep in mind that selling or transferring mineral rights doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor. For example, you can opt to maintain working interest over oil or gas production, meaning you are responsible for a portion of the costs associated with development and extraction but you also get a portion of the profits.

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