If you have fertile land that could have oil underneath it, you might be approached by a representative of an oil company, who might ask to drill on your land. Believe it or not, this happens more often than you probably think. Don't assume that you just have to say yes, however. Instead, try these tips for handling the situation.
Check Your Land Documents
Check the documents that came along with ownership of your land. There is a chance that you have mining rights for your land, which means that anything that is found beneath the surface of your land belongs to you. This means that you can opt to not let anyone drill there, or you can ask for payment in exchange for allowing an oil company to drill. If you aren't sure about your paperwork, visit your county office to ask for all copies of the documentation that is related to your land.
Hire a Lawyer
You should never try to handle this type of situation on your own. Oil companies are often very wealthy and can put up a good fight if they truly want to drill for oil on your land. Therefore, you are going to need someone with some experience to help defend you.
In some cases, you can fight against the oil company's request to search for oil on your land. Your lawyer can start by talking to a representative from the oil company about your rights; if this doesn't work, then he or she can escalate the case into the courtroom. Regardless, if you don't want your land to be touched by an oil company, then you should always put up a fight first.
Also, a good oil lawyer can help you fight for your rights in the event that you do allow your property to be drilled for oil. Your lawyer might fight for you to get some sort of payment out of the deal, since it is your land being used, regardless of if you have mining rights or not. Your lawyer can also fight to ensure that your land will be repaired back to its original condition after drilling has been completed so that you aren't left with a mess for a yard.
If an oil company has recently approached you about digging for oil on your land, you shouldn't just go along with it without protecting yourself. Instead, assess your paperwork and hire a good lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected. Talk to experts like Roberts Miceli Boileau & Doutt LLP for more information.