September 28, 2011
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In oil and natural gas exploration, drilling and production, it’s not uncommon for landowners and energy companies to become entangled in disputes. Often, the origin of the disagreement involves differing opinions on whose rights take precedence — the landowner who owns the surface or an energy operator who has leased the subsurface minerals. It’s called a split estate, and in all cases the law protects the rights of the subsurface owner.