LANDOWNER RIGHTS IN NORTH DAKOTA OIL FIELD CASES
Learning that an oil company wants to lease and drill on your property can be very exciting. In the Eagle Ford of Texas some land owners have received more than $10,000 an acre to lease their property. However, an unscrupulous oil company can turn that dream into a nightmare. We represent landowners who have had their property damaged by the conduct of an oil company as well as those who have been treated unfairly in the payment of royalties and bonuses.
Many properties have been in the family for years. The property is used for ranching, farming, and recreational activities such as hunting and fishing. Improper drilling techniques, in a second, destroy property that has been nurtured and cared for for generations. Landowners value their property and want those who drill on it to treat it with respect. Blowouts can damage many acres of land and render it unusable. They can literally destroy a families’ way of life as well as their livelihood. Worse, hydraulic fracturing, when done improperly, can contaminate ground water rendering it unfit for human consumption or agriculture. The North Dakota Industrial Commission, Department of Mineral Resources Oil and Gas Division recommends that surface owners check out the North Dakota Petroleum Council for frequently asked questions.
Oil and gas companies in North Dakota have been able to make a lot of money by completing wells quickly at relatively shallow depths. A number of the wells have been “fracked” to increase production. Because the oil companies are in such a hurry to drill the wells accidents are occurring at a high rate. When you combine the use of “fracking” with the fact the wells are relatively shallow, the potential for damage to the surface owner or adjacent landowner increases. In North Dakota there has been a high incidence of damage to landowners property by the oil companies either as a result of spills of drilling fluids such as “heavy” or calcium based water, oil or water based drilling mud, or any of the many down hole additives used to “stimulate” oil and gas production. “Fracking “ lawsuits have become common because of the contamination of the groundwater or health issues raised by migration of the fracing fluids underground.
The agricultural and farming industry still contribute a great deal to the North Dakota economy, and family farms and ranches are important to the way of life in North Dakota. Cole, Easley, Sciba & Williams and Pagel Weikum are committed to protecting the rights of the individual landowners, especially those family farmers and ranchers who have been operating for years. We do not believe that oil companies have the right to operate in a dangerous manner that injures either people or the environment.
There have been a number of articles in local papers about the pollution problems caused by spills of salt or calcium-based drilling water or other drilling fluids. Concern has also been expressed by farm and ranch organizations. The organizations have expressed concern that the agricultural industry in North Dakota, which still provides numerous jobs and a way of life for many families is being damaged beyond repair by the negligence of the oil and gas industry seeking quick profits.
At Cole, Easley, Sciba & Williams and Pagel Weikum, we are committed to protecting both large and small landowners who have suffered pollution damage as a result of drilling activities. If you or your neighbors have had your land damaged or your livestock harmed by the drilling activities of the oil industry or as a result of pollution, call us today. We can help and we will work to obtain compensation for the damage to your property. If you or your family or neighbors have become ill or your livestock has become ill, call us today.
We also represent property and royalty interest owners in disputes when oil companies do not pay what they should. Cole, Easley, Sciba & Williams has experience representing land owners in royalty dispute, drainage claims and bad faith pooling claims.
Oil and gas law can be complicated. Law firms representing land owners need to be experience in obtaining information from the North Dakota Industrial Commission, Department of Mineral Resources Oil and Gas Division. We can help you get the information you need to evaluate whether an oil company is treating you in accordance with the law. A good resource for land owners is the North Dakota Petroleum Council. If the oil company is not complying with the law, we can help you take the steps necessary to protect your rights.
The oil companies have lawyers working for them, but these lawyers do not always have your best interests in mind. Put the experience of Cole, Easley, Sciba & Williams, P.C. and Pagel & Weikum to work for you.