UTAH PETROLEUM ASSOCIATION
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LANDOWNERS

Utah is a checkerboard of different types of land and mineral ownership. One glance at a map showing who actually owns the surface of Utah’s lands will show the complexity this issue provides. The surface and mineral "estates" are sometimes owned by the same person, but sometimes they’re owned by different parties. A "split-estate" occurs when the surface and minerals are owned separately. These circumstances require special attention to protect the valid property rights of both parties. There has always been oil and gas produced on federal, state and “fee” (privately owned) lands ever since production started in Utah. Over the past decade, however, there has been a consistent move towards private lands as the challenges of leasing and permitting on federal lands has grown more complex, expensive and time consuming. This move towards fee lands is exciting news if the surface owner also owns the minerals rights. Rents and royalties from oil and gas production for a private landowner can be substantial. But what about if that surface owner doesn’t own the mineral rights? What are their rights and responsibilities? And what about the rights of the mineral owner? These are important, and sometimes challenging issues that need to be addressed and understood as the State’s oil and gas development continues.