Oil and Gas Law: What is a Title Opinion?

Essentially, a title opinion is a document, produced by an attorney, that details the current ownership rights of a specific piece of property. It will also outline what needs to be done in order to move forward with a specific resource development project. When it comes to oil and gas development, title opinions are critical. If you are in need of a title opinion, please contact an experienced oil and gas attorney for immediate legal assistance.

Oil and Gas Title Opinions: Frequently Included Terms

The following is a list of terms frequently included in title opinions:

  • A comprehensive description of the property;
  • A list of the materials examined;
  • All levels of ownership, including: surface rights, mineral rights, royalty rights and leaseholder rights;
  • Tax statements; and
  • Any other issues that may affect the ability of a company to perform oil and gas operations.

There are Several Types of Title Opinions

North Dakota oil and gas development is incredibly complex. You will need a different type of title opinion depending on the specific needs of your project. Common examples include:

 

  • Acquisition opinions: These opinions are typically prepared during the purchasing process. When a company is considering acquiring land for oil and gas development, they need to know the full extent of the property rights associated with that land. An acquisition opinion will confirm the seller’s ownership interests in the property, and will also confirm that there are no issues related to the chain of ownership.
  • Drilling opinions: These opinions are prepared prior to when a company plans to begin drilling an oil or gas well. A drilling opinion has multiple purposes. First, it will identify the ownership interests of any resources that may be found during the drilling operation. Further, if ownership related issues are identified, solutions will be offered. The goal of the opinion is to help the company ensure that they have acquired all of rights necessary to both develop the resource and bring it to market.
  • Division of order opinions: Finally, a division of order opinion is prepared after a company has discovered recoverable oil or gas. Once again, the division of order opinion has the purpose of ensuring that the company has successfully acquired the necessary rights for that resource.

Need Legal Help?

Fundamentally, title opinions are about protection. Without a proper title opinion, very expensive litigation is likely to follow. Blake Hayes, an oil and gas title opinion attorney, can help. Mr. Hayes has extensive experience serving oil and gas clients throughout North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas. If you have any questions about title opinions, please contact our office today at (918) 392-4641 for additional information.