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Royalty Ownership Questions and Answers

What are Royalties?
Royalties are the mineral owner’s share of production as reserved in an oil and gas lease, free of production expense.

What is Clearing the Title?
If petroleum can be produced in commercial quantities, royalty owners must clear the title to mineral rights for oil and natural gas extracted from the property. This process involves several parties and typically takes several months.

What is an Oil and Gas Lease?
A written agreement in which a property owner (lessor) allows another person or company (lessee) to exploit any oil or gas deposits on the land for a certain period of time in exchange for periodic payments. Lists amount to be paid, payment period, and other rights and obligations of the lessee and lessor. Signing of the lease permits the drilling and production of oil and/or natural gas on the leased property for a specified period of time.

What is a Division Order?
A Division Order is a directive signed by the royalty owner verifying the purchaser or operator of a well the decimal interest of production owned by the royalty owner. Also, it provides the owner’s address and tax identification number or social security number, among other items. After the title is cleared, A Division Order is sent to all participating parties. The Division Order includes the decimal interest, a legal description of the property, the operator’s name, and several legal agreements associated with the process. When this step is completed, you can be put into a “pay status” to begin receiving revenue payments.

What are some of the more common interest types shown on the remittance advice and what do they mean?

WI or WKI–Working Interest:
The right granted to the lessee of a property to explore for and to produce and own oil, gas, or other minerals. The working interest owners bear the exploration, development and operating costs.

ROI–Royalty Interest:
The share of the production or proceeds owned by the lessor under the terms of the mineral lease.

ORI–Overriding Royalty Interest:
An interest in production that is created and payable out of the working interest. Usually, the term of an ORI is for the life of the mineral lease.

BR–Blanchard Royalty Interest:
An interest that is specific to royalty owners in Oklahoma. See Oklahoma Senate Bill 168 for more details.

PR–Pooled Royalty Interest:
An interest where the WI is paying the Operator of Record the “pooled royalty” to be distributed by the operator of record to the royalty owners covered under Oklahoma Senate Bill 168

Revenue Questions and Answers

How do I contact a company?
You can either e-mail, call or write a company.  We have listed a great number of companies’ information on this website for your convenience.  Just go to the ‘Company Links’ section.  If you have a payment question, first identify the area (legal description) in which your well is located, then use the corresponding toll-free telephone number, e-mail address or if you prefer, contact the company in writing.

When are checks issued?
Each company mails checks at different times of the month.  You can usually locate this information on a company’s website under their FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) section.

What should I do if I don’t receive my royalty check?
Due to potential postal delays, a check may arrive a few days late.  If your check is more than two weeks late, please contact the company so that they can research the issue.  To prevent delays in receiving your payments, many companies provide Direct Deposit or Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).  You will need to enroll in that feature with each company.  You may do so via their website or in writing.

Also, a common reason for not receiving a check is because your account has not reached your “minimum pay” or “minimum suspense” status.  Companies remit revenue to you once your balance exceeds $100 (unless you have previously requested, in writing, to be set up with a $25 minimum pay status), or at year-end (whichever comes first).
Occasionally, payments are held due to title matters which create uncertainty as to ownership, such as a notice of death, change of address, transfer of property, assignment of interest or legal dispute.  Payments due are accumulated and released when the matter affecting ownership has been resolved.  Inquiries regarding suspense balances should be communicated in writing to the company’s Division Order Department.

What is a “Stale Dated” Check?
Many revenue checks are not negotiable after a certain date (this date will be printed on the check).  If you do not deposit your check within that time frame, the company must re-issue the check.  Please return the check to their Revenue Department and they will take the necessary steps to include this amount (with full detail) on your next revenue check.
Some companies do not place an expiration date on their revenue checks; however, please contact the company’s Owner Relations Department prior to cashing a stale check to verify that the check has not been voided.

What is the “Void Date?”
If a replacement check is requested for any reason, the original check must first be voided.  This would occur if a check is lost in the mail, is stale-dated and returned for re-issue, or an error is discovered by the company before the original check is mailed.  If a payment record includes a “Void Date,” that payment should not be included in the total you received.

What is the “Clear Date?”
The Clear Date is the date the payment is presented to the company’s bank account for payment.

What is an “owner number” or “business associate (BA) number” and its purpose?
Each company will assign you an exclusive identifying number.  This is used to distinguish you from that company’s other interest owners, just as your utility companies or credit card companies assign you your own number.  When communicating or corresponding with a company, please include this number so they will be able to more readily and accurately identify you.

How do I change my address?
Please notify each company promptly of any change in your mailing address.
This notice must be in writing with your signature or the signature of your appointed agent.  Please include your name, owner number, social security number, old address and new address, including the zip code.  For your protection, address changes are not accepted by telephone.  Some companies will accept changes via their website.

How do I change my name in the company’s records in the event of a marriage or divorce?
Provide the company with a court certified copy of the Marriage Certificate or Divorce Decree and state you want your name changed FROM… TO…  Advise if you want interest suspended or continue payment as-is until the transaction is complete.

How do I add my spouse to my account?
You will need to provide the company a conveyance document transfering interest from you to you and your spouse establishing joint tenancy that has been recorded in the county and state where the minerals are located.  Advise if you want interest suspended or continue payment as-is until the transaction is complete.  Please provide a copy of the document as originals will not be returned.

How do I transfer my ownership to someone else?
Provide an assignment or deed document of conveyance that has been recorded in the county and state where the minerals are located.  Provide the social security number of the new payee, address and daytime telephone number.  Advise if the owner wants interest suspended or continue payment as-is until this transaction is complete.

What should I do when the owner of record passes away?
Transfers due to death vary by state and vary depending on whether or not the decedent had a will or not.  You may contact the company by phone or e-mail and the appropriate instructions will be sent based on requirements for the state in which the property is located.  The interest may be suspended pending receppt of appropriate transfer documents.  Usually if the deceased party left a Will and the Will is being probated, you will need to provide the company with a court-certified copy of the death certificate, letters testamentary, and final decree of distribution.  If the estate is not probated, you will need to provide the company with a copy of the Will (if available), court-certified death certificate and request information regarding an Affidavit of HeirshipClick here for information by state.

How do I notify a company of a change in Trustee?
Provide that portion of the Trust document that determines who is successor Trustee as well as the duties and powers of the Trustee and circumstances leading to replacement of Trustee, and let them know if an address change is also needed.

How can I put my interest into a Trust?
Prepare or have prepared a Memorandum of Trust and a conveyance document from the current owner of record into the Trust.  Have the documents recorded in the county and state where the minerals are located.  Provide the tax identification number of the Trust and telephone number and address.  Advise if the owner wants the interest suspended or continue payment as-is until the transaction is complete.

When are royalty payments suspended?
For your protection, payments can be suspended for a number of reasons as shown below:

  • Division Order not signed
  • Unsatisfied Title Requirements
  • Title being Transferred
  • Death
  • Address Unknown
  • Affected by Litigation

Keeping your information current can prevent this inconvenience.

What documentation is required if you buy or sell an interest in a property?
Provide the company’s Owner Relations Department with a copy of the conveyance properly recorded in the county in which the property is located.

Why are adjustments made to my payment?
Companies strive to disburse revenues in accordance with an owner’s lease agreement and state statutes.  If an error or discrepancy is discovered, a correction will be made and adjustments may result.  For instance, a company may be given inaccurate production figures or pricing from a transporter.  An adjustment would be required to correct this.  Each state has statute of limitation laws that govern how far back in the past the company can make adjustments.  Remember, sometimes adjustments will be in the royalty owner’s favor.

Why is Backup Withholding deducted from my revenue check?
A valid Tax Identification Number or Social Security Number must be provided to the company for reporting and identification purposes.  If it is not, the Internal Revenue Service requires withholding of 31 percent of all revenues until this information is provided.

Why does the amount of my royalty payment sometimes vary from month to month?
Many factors contribute to your payment.  Changing market conditions can cause price fluctuations, while mechanical or operational problems or routine maintenance may temporarily affect production, causing downtime.  Check amounts may vary from month to month depending on production volumes, price of product, marketing arrangements, changes in tax alws or any adjustments that may occur.  Also regulatory or contractual changes or seasonal conditions can affect the amount.  If you have reason to believe an error has occurred, please contact the company at their toll-free number or e-mail address which will be listed in the Contact Information section of their website.

Why does my payment differ from others in my family?
Payments may differ from other family members for several reasons:  Non-Resident tax laws, rounding of decimal interest, owners may be setup with different check limits.

Where can I obtain information on the value of my mineral rights?
Companies do not provide any type of valuation for an owner’s mineral rights.  We suggest contacting a Petroleum Engineering Consultant familiar with the area for an evaluation.

How is Unclaimed or Abandoned Property reported?
Each state has Abandoned Property or Escheat Laws that require the reporting of funds held for its residents or those who have died leaving no heirs.  Once Unclaimed or Abandoned Property has reached the state’s required dormancy period, it is paid or escheated to the state of the owner’s last known address.  To reclaim these funds, you must contact the applicable states of residence.

Where can I research Unclaimed or Abandoned Property That Has Been Escheated?
A helpful website is which contains unclaimed property records for all states and the District of Columbia.  NAUPA, the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators is a non-profit organization affiliated with the National Association of State Treasurers.  You just click on a particular state and it will give you the pertinent information to contact them, including that state’s website.

How do I locate the County Clerk’s office associated with my property?
American Royalty Council can assist you with the address and phone number of the County Clerk’s office associated with your property.  Or you may click here for a link to a website for all County Clerk’s offices:  County Clerk’s Offices

How do I read my Check Detail?
Various sample payment stubs will be provided under the ­Resources section of our website.  Once the sample stub is viewable, move the mouse cursor over each field and a definition will appear.

Why are the decimal interests on my division order and check detail different?
This occurs due to special marketing arrangements or other contractual agreements.  The value is still proportionally correct.

Can I view and print my Check Detail?
Many companies provide the capability of doing this via their website.  Follow their instructions on their site to obtain this information.  In order to print the payment detail, you will more-than-likely need to launch Adobe Reader.

What type of annual statement will I receive from the company?
Owners will receive a 1099 statement for payment received in the prior year.  1099’s are mailed out by January 31st.


Other Important Links

Other Important Links:

(While not exhaustive, this list will be valuable in assisting you to contact organizations which provide information of interest or directly affect the business and professional lives of those in the oil and gas industry.)

American Royalty Council

American Petroluem Institute

Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

National Association of Unclaimed Property

Plants Need CO2


Energy Advocates

Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA)

Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC)

Kansas Geological Survey

New Mexico
North Dakota
     South Dakota

National Association of Division Order Analysts (NADOA)

National Association of Lease & Title Analysts (NALTA)

National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA)

Oil & Gas Journal

Oil Law Records

Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC)
For Oil and Gas Complaints & Information, call:
(405) 521-2613; (800) 522-0034
Or contact Donna Darnell at

Oklahoma Energy Resources Board (OERB)

Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS)

Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association (OIPA)

Oklahoma Marginal Well Commission

Oklahoma Mid-Continent Oil and Gas

Oklahoma Tax Commission Gross Production Tax

Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB)

Panhandle Producers & Royalty Owners Association (PPROA)

Southwest Kansas Royalty Owners Association (SWKROA)

Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO)

Texas Oil & Gas Association (TxOGA)

Texas Railroad Commission (RRC)

The Energy Council  

Oil and Gas Companies

We will add additional companies’ information as we receive it.

(Please do not hesitate to contact ARC if you do not see a company listed that you need to contact and we will attempt to locate it for you.)

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

BP America Production Company

Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Company, LP
(See ConocoPhillips)

Chesapeake Energy Corporation

Chevron Corporation

CIMA Energy, Ltd.
(Click on Services at the top of their Home Page, then click on Division Order Services)

ConocoPhillips Corporation
(Click on Products & Services, scroll down to Interest Owners ConocoPhillips or Interest Owners Burlington Resources)

Continental Resources, Inc.

Crawley Petroleum Corporation

Devon Energy Corporation
(Click on Contacts at the top of their Home Page, scroll down to Royalty Owner Inquires-US.  You will be able to access your account from there.)

Dominion Exploration & Production, Inc.
(In the Search space, type in Interest Owner Information, then click on that name again when the next page comes up.  From there, you can access various pages, including the Owner Relations Connect site where you will be able to access your account.)

ExxonMobil Corporation

Kerr-McGee Corporation
(See Anadarko Petroleum Corporation)

Marathon Oil Company

XTO Energy, Inc.
(Click on Interest Owner Relations on the menu on the left.)