What is the status of my oil & gas lease?
This question usually is the first one on a mineral owner’s mind after a lease is signed and the bonus money paid. Sometimes, after a few months, a mineral owner will call the Lessee to ask that question, only to find out that the original Lessee named in the lease no longer owns it. So that leads to the next question.
Where is my oil & gas lease now?
The original Lessee should be able to tell you the name of the company that bought your lease. If not, you can find out who owns it now by subscribing to an online property records database such as CourthouseDirect.com. I name this one only because it is the largest, covering the most states and counties in those states. You want to follow the various menus and click into the page accessing your state, your county.
You probably don’t have a copy of the lease after it was recorded, so you don’t know in what volume and page, or under what filing number, your lease can be found in the county’s lease records, or deed records where some counties still file them.
To find and print a copy of your recorded lease, begin by entering the date range for the search. Enter your lease date as the “from”. You can leave the “to” field blank. Enter in the “Grantor Name” field your name as it appears in the lease. In the “Grantee” field, enter the original Lessee’s name as it appears in the lease. The database should return one result, your lease. You can download and print a copy of that lease for your records (which I highly recommend that you do).
Next, you want to find out who owns your lease now. Enter your lease date as the “from” and leave the “to” date blank. Then enter the name of the original Lessee in the “Grantor Name” field. The CourthouseDirect.com database should return a list of all documents filed during that date range containing either that Lessee as the Grantor, or the Volume and Page of your lease as being associated with the transaction.
You will be looking for documents in the category of “assignment” or “conveyance”, or an abbreviation of either. Specifically, you will be looking for your recording information to be listed in the column on the right side of the screen. The assignment filed first after the date of your lease, with your Lessee as the Grantor, and containing your lease recording information, will tell you who the original Lessee sold the lease to. The buyer’s name will be the Grantee.
But keep looking at the list of documents, to see if that Grantee appears as Grantor in a later assignment also listing your recording information. They could have already resold your lease! You may want to download and pay for copies of the documents you find assigning your lease after you signed it. The last Grantee in the list, with the most current date, should be who owns your lease now, if your lease wasn’t resold in the last 60 days. CourthouseDirect.com runs two months behind the courthouse for listing all documents that are recorded.