Oil and gas royalties and estate disputes in Texas

The importance of oil and gas interests to Texans is nothing new.  But the shale boom has brought about a renaissance in exploration and production, and a great influx of wealth to many Texas families. This boom is highlighted in a recent Texas Tribune article:

Large-scale extraction of oil and gas from shale is relatively new, which is why modern-day oilmen feel like explorers. Hy- draulic fracturing, or fracking, the process of breaking up underground rock with a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals — took off in the late 1990s in the Barnett Shale near Fort Worth. In recent years, aided by companies’ ability to drill thousands of feet horizontally under the earth, fracking has expanded into areas like the Eagle Ford and the Bakken Shale of North Dakota.

Oil and gas mineral interests have been playing a larger role in the estate disputes I handle.  Estates that at first glance appear modest in size can be large if the estate property is located in a shale play.  I have been fortunate in assisting several of my clients in obtaining portions of family mineral interests as part of will contests.