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Wednesday, October 29, 2014
By Janis Crawley, executive director
Bowie Economic Development Corporation
According to a study by The Perryman Group, job
growth in Texas increased by 63 percent from 1990
to 2014 while the U.S. overall growth stands at 26
This growth includes oil and gas, but Texas strength
in numbers derives from many other sources. In fact,
oil prices were depressed during much of the time
during the past 25 years, and the Texas economy
nonetheless expanded at a healthy pace.
Bowie EDC has a clear focus on the benefits of the
Barnett Shale production and the millions of dollars
it pumps into our local economies. In addition to the
oil and gas production, local economic development
efforts facilitated by the local sales tax revenues play
important roles in attracting new commercial and
industrial ventures.
The Bowie EDC developed a program of work to
enhance and improve our local infrastructure, expand
growth in primary jobs and to increase and enhance
the overall quality of life.
Our economic development team mission is
focused on job creation and growth that is not totally
dependent upon the oil and gas production.
Currently, a large percent of our job market is
in oil and gas maintenance and sustainability and
illustrates current growth in the transportation of the
produced product.
Bowie EDC’s mission is to strengthen our local
economy through job creation and expansion with
a clear and decisive knowledge of our strengths and
weaknesses; enhance education opportunities and
seeks a diverse job market for our citizens.
The recent purchase of the property on U.S. 287
places Bowie in the market for this diversity of job
growth with future plans of the new Business Park,
a 123-acre site(s) offering the full deal for small or
Questions and concerns frequently arise when
owners of residential property in suburban and rural
areas discover that oil and gas operations are being
conducted in the vicinity. Although the Railroad Com-
mission generally lacks jurisdiction over these issues,
this article answers to some common questions.
Mineral & Surface Estates
Under Texas law, land ownership includes two dis-
tinct sets of rights, or “estates,” the surface estate and
the mineral estate. Initially, these two estates were
owned by the same person and they may continue to
be owned together by one person.
However, in many areas of Texas, especially those
where there has been extensive historical oil and gas
development, it is common for the mineral estate and
surface estate to be owned by different people. The
division, or “severance,” of the mineral estate and sur-
face estate occurs when an owner sells the surface and
retains all or part of the minerals (or, less commonly,
an owner sells the minerals and retains the surface).
If an owner does not expressly retain the minerals
when selling the surface, the mineral estate he owns
automatically is included in the sale.
Dominance of Mineral Estate
Regardless of whether the mineral estate and
surface estate are held by one owner or have been
severed, Texas law holds that the mineral estate is
dominant. This means that the owner of the mineral
estate has the right to freely use the surface estate to
the extent reasonably necessary for the exploration,
development, and production of the oil and gas under
the property.
This right to freely use the surface estate for the
benefit of the mineral estate may be exercised by a
company or individual that has taken a mineral lease
from the actual owner of the mineral estate. The
company that takes a lease and actually operates the
large expansion projects – the logistics are in place and
the completion of the park will include the required
infrastructure (roads, water, sewer, electric, gas).
Other factors to consider are planning and
expansion of our overall community health. Where do
you want to see us five years, 10 years and 20 years
from now? Growth is good but it takes courageous
leaders and involves change and expansion.
Leadership is key to every boom and every bust,
my favorite quote is by ‘Peter Drucker’ “Whenever
you see a successful business, someone once made a
courageous decision.”
This quote is true in every aspect of my world.
There is also the flip side of this statement, not every
courageous decision is successful but every decision
is vital.
Information about the Bowie EDC can be obtained
by calling 872-4193 and at the city’s website at
Bowie EDC sees clear benefits of Barnett Shale
Property owner, mineral rights can be very confusing
property is frequently referred to as the “lessee” and
the mineral interest owner who granted the lease is
the “lessor.”
Lessee’s have broad rights to use the surface for
the purpose of exploring for and producing oil and
gas. These rights include the right to conduct seismic
tests, drill wells at locations they select, to enter and
exit well sites and other facilities, to build, maintain,
and use roads for access to and from well sites and
facilities, to build and use pipelines to serve wells
and facilities on the property, to use surface and
subsurface water on the leased premises for drilling
and production operations, and to drill and operate
injection wells to enhance lease recovery and dispose
of lease-produced water.
With the limited exceptions discussed below, the
lessee has the right to conduct the activities set out
above and otherwise reasonably use the surface with-
out getting permission from the surface owner and
without restoring the surface or paying for any non-
negligent damages it causes. However, if a lessee’s use
of the surface is found to be negligent, unreasonable, or
excessive, the lessee may be liable to pay damages.
Exceptions and Limitations
The general rules regarding free use of the surface
to benefit the mineral estate may be changed by the
specific terms of the mineral lease covering the prop-
erty or of the deed that severed the mineral estate
from the surface estate. In addition, many cities have
municipal ordinances restricting oil and gas activities
on property within city jurisdiction.
The rights of the lessee may also be limited by
the “accommodation doctrine.” This applies in lim-
ited circumstances to require the lessee to modify
its operations to accommodate an existing surface
use when reasonable alternatives are available. In
specific circumstances in counties in or near large
metropolitan areas developers can impose restrictions
on drilling and operations by creation of a qualified
subdivision as provided by Chapter 92 of the Texas
Natural Resources Code.
Control by Surface Owner
The best method of controlling oil and gas develop-
ment by a surface owner is the purchase of all or a
significant portion of an undivided interest in the min-
eral estate. This allows the surface owner to control
the timing and terms of any future leases. However,
purchase of the mineral estate is not always possible
or practical. In the alternative, although under no
obligation to do so, a mineral interest owner may be
willing to agree to include surface use and surface
damages clauses in future leases.
If the mineral estate is already under lease, the
surface owner may wish to call the lessee company
to attempt to negotiate an agreement restricting use
of the surface or agreeing to set damages for surface
use. Although there is no legal requirement to do so, a
lessee may be willing to enter into a reasonable surface
use/damages agreement to avoid potential disputes.
This is general information provided by the RRC. It
is not legal advice and is not a substitute. For specific
questions, it is strongly recommended that you consult
with an experienced oil and gas or real estate attorney.
Reprinted with permission from the RRC website.