Texas A&M Law Review


Terrell Fenner

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A long history of oil and gas development in Texas has made the state the number one energy producer in the United States, and the bulk of that energy is produced from fuels acquired by drilling into the vast natural resources that sit below the state. As a side effect of this long history, it is common for the surface and mineral estates in Texas to be severed, and many severances happened several generations ago. This history has spread mineral interests between dozens of owners in some cases, many who are unknown and cannot be found. Absentee ownership has diluted the value of these fractionalized interests and has made use by their non-absentee counterparts more difficult.

Existing laws that have been used in the past to clear absentee owners from title have not been effective in the context of a severed mineral estate, as those laws evolved primarily to address surface interests, or to accomplish other purposes with only incidental effect on land titles.

This Comment discusses the inadequacy of the current methods used in Texas to remove absentee owners from mineral titles and illustrates the need for a more effective remedy. It then offers a dormant mineral act that suits the unique cultural and economic needs of Texas and addresses the growing fractionalization of Texas’s mineral estates.

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