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Maryland’s Dormant Mineral Law

by Elizabeth Alford on August 3, 2016

Mineral owners in Maryland risk losing drilling opportunities due to a little known law.

Connect with Mineral Owners in Maryland

Low crude prices have caused producers to curtail oil and gas activity over the last 24 months. For mineral owners in Maryland, the prospect is even more grim since the state created a two year moratorium on fracking in 2015. To protect their interests, Maryland owners need to comply with a Maryland’s Dormant Mineral law in order to retain ownership of their mineral interests.

In 2012, Maryland enacted The Dormant Mineral Interests Act that reunites the surface and mineral estates when the mineral estate was not used for a specific period. The law defines activity as:

  • – active mineral operations on or below the surface;
  • – payment of taxes related to the mineral interest;
  • – certain legal instruments recorded; or
  • – a deed, judgment, or judicial decree recorded judgment or decree that makes reference to the mineral interest (Section 15-1203(c)(1)(i)-(iv))

In cases where there has been no activity on the property for 20 years, the mineral owner should contact an attorney for assistance in filing a notice of intent to preserve their interests.

The Act applies where a mineral estate or mineral interest is owned by someone other than the surface owner, but does not affect property owners who hold all the rights to their property.

Learn more in this FAQ

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