By: Tony Watterud, AVP Trust Officer

Mineral ownership can be complicated but rewarding.  When the checks are coming in the mail it’s very exciting; however, there are often many unanswered questions. Here are just a few….

  1. Am I getting paid the correct amount?
  2. Why are my checks getting smaller?
  3. How can I get my minerals leased?
  4. Should I agree to these easement terms?
  5. Why is the oil company holding my money?

A professional Bank Trust Department with Oil and Gas Management services can help you get these questions answered. As generations pass and family mineral ownership knowledge fades, more and more families are choosing to have their minerals professionally managed.

Many families don’t know exactly what they own. That means, knowing specifically, the legal descriptions of the land (whether you own the surface or not) under which your minerals lie.  Then you need to know your net mineral acres of ownership in each parcel. This is determined by a professional who does a title search of your family ownership history.

Next, we can begin looking into analyzing your royalty payments. We must determine which wells you are being paid on and whether your interest is a “Working Interest” or a “Royalty Interest”.  The most important thing to know here is if you’re in a working interest you’ll be asked to pay some of the bills.  

Recently, a number of questions have been raised on whether the oil and gas companies are paying the royalties accurately and fairly.  There are currently lawsuits in motion to determine how much, if any, of the processing and transportation costs should be shared with the mineral owner.  There has also been a question of whether minerals underneath Lake Sakakawea belong to the Mineral owner or the State of North Dakota.

I have just touched on a few of the challenges a mineral owner can experience. Some mineral owners just open the envelopes and cash the checks not knowing if they were paid correctly. Would you do this with any other money owed to you, such as your paycheck or money received from something you sold?

This is too important to leave to chance.

First Western Bank & Trust’s Mineral Management department has a professionally trained staff, accounting and mapping software, and years of experience to help you with these challenges. The cost will likely be lower than you think. We can possibly reclaim or find money that has been held in suspense or negotiate more lucrative terms on your behalf.

First Western Bank & Trust’s Mineral Management Department is one of the largest in North Dakota.

Give us a call, we’ll do our best to see that your family’s minerals are managed properly.