SOURCE (Read More Here): http://www.courtnewsohio.gov/cases/2015/SCO/1105/140067.asp#.VkII_tKrRhE
A lease that grants oil and gas rights to another party and was recorded with the county recorder is a title transaction under the state’s Dormant Mineral Act, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled today. However, the Court concluded, the unrecorded expiration of an oil and gas lease does not qualify as a title transaction.
In mineral-rich areas, such as Marcellus and Utica Shale regions of eastern Ohio, rights to the surface property and the minerals below are often owned separately. However, the mineral interests can be considered abandoned if 20 years pass without a title transaction or the occurrence of another event described in the statute.
The Court’s decision, written by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, was unanimous in ruling that the unrecorded expiration of an oil and gas lease is not a title transaction. The Court divided, though, on whether the leases themselves are title transactions – with one justice concurring in the judgment but not the reasoning, and two justices dissenting.
The holding answers questions submitted by a federal court considering a dispute between the owners of 90-plus acres in Harrison County and the various companies that have leased the property’s mineral interests. The case now returns to the federal court for additional proceedings.