In Oklahoma, landowners do not own subsurface gas or oil until they extract it
from the ground. Oklahoma courts long ago decided that the rule of capture governs
fugacious—fleeting—substances below the earth’s surface. In other words, if
your neighbor drills a well at the border of your property and begins to extract oil from underneath
your land, you cannot successfully sue him or her and hope to be compensated for your lost
oil. Instead, you must drill your own well to capture as much of the oil as you can.
and gas leases have two primary functions: they convey oil and mineral rights from the mineral
owner to the lessee—usually an oil company—and create a contract in which the lessee
takes possession of the mineral rights subject to certain conditions and obligations. Like all
property deeds, the oil and gas lease must clearly identify the lessor, the lessee, and the interest
conveyed, and must adequately describe the leased premises.
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