Did you know that, under Texas law, landowners are allowed to drill and acquire royalties based upon the minerals found on their land? Legally, oil and gas are considered minerals, which means if there is a substantial amount of oil in your yard, you are allowed to earn royalties off of that oil or natural gas.
About two-thirds of the 254 counties in Texas produce oil, so you just might have oil in your own backyard! Take a look the history of mineral rights in Texas and see what it actually means to have these particular rights as a landowner.
By the Constitution of 1866, Texans were granted semi-ownership of all soil and mineral substances in their land, sharing partial ownership with the sovereign nation. But later, by the provisions of the Constitution of 1876, Texan landowners had complete ownership of any soils and mineral substances within and underneath the surface.
Under the Relinquishment Act of 1919, the landowner was made the agent of leasing any lands they owned. Both the surface owner and the state were legally allowed to receive fractional interest in the proceeds of minerals found underneath that land, even if they sold the land.
Today, if you own a stretch of land, you have both surface rights and mineral rights to that land. Surface rights include the right to build on or to use the surface of the property. Mineral rights allow the landowner to produce and develop any minerals underneath the surface of the property, unless released otherwise.
Both of these rights are transferred when the land is conveyed, unless it specifically states otherwise in a deed. So even if you have sold the land, you still have the rights to receive royalties from that land, unless you had specifically stated that you did not wish to receive those royalties in a deed.
When digging and drilling for minerals in your yard, a good general practice is to let a professional operator develop and produce the minerals. Call Texas811 for more information, and always call before you dig!