Q: Is it possible for me to sell mineral rights to the land under my property but maintain the surface rights above ground?
A: Yes, you can. However, a lease or sale of mineral rights will also condition a right to access the above-ground property so the extraction can occur (i.e. the mining trucks will require some means to enter the property to extract the resources). Also, the nature of what is reasonably marketable is partially contingent on the size and scope of the land. Contact a real estate attorney who is familiar with resource extraction for details.
A: Yes, it is very common to sell the mineral rights under the land and keep the surface. However, as has been pointed out, the minerals take precedence over the surface. If an oil company wants to drill on your surface to access the buyer's minerals, they must reasonably accommodate your surface use, but you can't stop them from drilling. Nevertheless, oil companies usually execute a surface use agreement with the surface owner, but it is not required under the law. Importantly, you can put restrictions on surface use in the mineral deed when you sell. For example, you can restrict drilling to a certain corner of the property, or 1000 feet away from any house or structure. If you are considering selling your minerals, you should speak with an oil and gas attorney to help you evaluate the deal, draft the deed, and ensure you get paid.
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