Wyoming Mineral Rights

Learn about mineral rights in Wyoming, including the best counties, how to find your wells on a map, valuations, transferring ownership, paying taxes, and more.

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Wyoming Mineral Rights

WV ranks #7 in the United States natural oil production and #10 for natural gas.

Top Producing Oil & Gas Counties in Wyoming

Wyoming has 23 counties, and 10 of them produce some amount of oil and gas.  However, the vast majority of the oil and gas is extracted from just 3 counties. Is your county one of them?

Value of Wyoming Mineral Rights

The value of mineral rights in Wyoming depends on a variety of factors, including location, production status, decimal interest, production volume, commodity price, lease development, lease terms, and the operator.

How to Locate Your Wyoming Mineral Rights

Wyoming provides an interactive map that allows mineral owners to search by owner name, parcel number, or well name. Once you locate your well, you can look at the production history and other info.

Transferring Ownership of Wyoming Mineral Rights

It’s best to have an attorney help you transfer the ownership of WY mineral rights.  Learn why.

Find Your Wyoming Mineral Deed

Looking for proof that you own mineral rights?  Follow these steps to search the deed records.

Sell Your Wyoming Mineral Rights

Get an offer for your WY mineral rights.  There is no obligation to sell, and it won’t cost you anything.

top wyoming oil and gas counties

Top Oil & Gas Producing Counties in Wyoming

Converse, Campbell, and Sublette are the top producing counties for both oil and natural gas in Wyoming.

Unlike some other states, oil and gas production is fairly spread out across the state.  These are the top-producing counties:

  • Converse
  • Campbell
  • Sublette
  • Laramie
  • Sweetwater
  • Natrona
  • Park
  • Fremont
  • Johnson
  • Carbon

NOTE: It is important to realize that, even in the top counties, there are areas of the county that produce large amounts of oil and gas but other areas that produce none.  The location is very so important!

Niobrara & Mowry Shale

The Niobrara and Mowry shale plays in Wyoming are significant geological formations known for their oil and gas production potential. Both formations are part of the larger Rocky Mountain region’s energy resources.

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Niobrara Shale

The Niobrara Shale is primarily located in the Powder River Basin and Denver-Julesburg Basin, extending into Wyoming from Colorado. It is a Late Cretaceous geological formation that consists of chalky and marly sediment with interspersed layers of shale and limestone. The Niobrara is known for its oil-rich layers, which have been targeted extensively in recent years due to advancements in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies.

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Mowry Shale

The Mowry Shale, also a Cretaceous formation, underlies parts of the Niobrara and is prevalent in the Powder River and Wind River basins. It is composed of siliceous shale and fine-grained sandstones. The Mowry Shale is considered a source rock, meaning it is rich in organic material that has generated hydrocarbons. Although historically less targeted than the Niobrara, the Mowry has garnered interest for its potential in unconventional oil and gas production.
map of wyoming shale plays and counties

Image Description:   Map of the Niobrara and Mowry shale plays overlapping the top producing oil and gas counties in Wyoming.

Wyoming Mineral Rights Value

 

Oil and gas royalties and mineral rights in Wyoming are valued differently if they are producing vs. non-producing.

Producing Mineral Rights Value

Producing minerals are mineral rights with an active oil or gas well that is producing economically viable quantities of oil or gas.

Modern Valuation Method

Modern valuation methods use data from royalty statements and public data sources to model future revenue based on recent and predicted future pricing scenarios. This method takes into account your decimal interest, production volumes, decline, deductions, and commodity prices. Most mineral buyers use this valuation method.

In the past, they used to use the Rule of Thumb, which is roughly 30 – 60 months of royalty revenue based on a variety of factors. This method is not suitable for new horozontal wells.

Non-Producing Mineral Rights Value

Non-producing minerals do not have a producing oil or gas well. Because there are no wells, there will be no royalty revenue.

Typically, non-producing minerals are valued based on a multiple of the expected lease bonus.

For example, if the going lease bonus in the county ranges from $100-$200, you can expect to sell your mineral rights for the lease bonus times the number of net mineral acres (NMA) you own.

The value of non-producing minerals is usually stated as a price per net mineral acre. The price per net mineral acre varies from state to state, county to county, and even within a county.

Interested in learning more about the value of your mineral rights?  Check out this guide on 7 Factors That Influence the Value of Mineral Rights or this video about why Location is Everything (via YouTube).

simple redacted deed

Transferring Ownership in Wyoming

The proper way to transfer title is by deed or court order (including probate).  In some cases, Wyoming mineral rights may be transferred with an Affidavit of Heirship (AOH), which can be used state of a deceased individual did not leave a will, or where the estate was not formally probated.  An Affidavit of Heirship may the next generation to get into pay status with the operator, but can cause problems down the road if the title is not “marketable”.

You always want to have a “marketable title” to your mineral rights, so it’s worth doing the transfer correctly.  It’s best to consult an Wyoming oil and gas attorney and get professional advice on transferring mineral rights.

Not sure where to find a Wyoming attorney?  Google, “WY oil and gas attorney.”

I have a Deed. What next?

Once you have a legal document conveying the mineral rights from the previous generation to you, you’ll need to have it recorded with the county clerk in the county where the minerals are located. The mineral rights are not really owned until the deed is recorded, so don’t leave it in a drawer – do it right away!

Notifying Operators

Once the document has been recorded, send a copy to each operator.  More than likely, the operator will send you a division order and put you into pay status.

Need more help (transferring before/after death, after a divorce, or into/out of a trust)?  Our detailed guide to Transferring Mineral Rights may help.

An alternative to transferring ownership is to sell your Wyoming mineral rights, which might make sense if the interest is relatively small or the next generation is not interested in managing them.

 

Searching Wyoming Deed Records

 

The first step in being a responsible mineral owner is the know what you own so that it can be properly managed.  There will come a time, when the minerals will need to be transferred to the next generation or sold.

It’s a good idea to keep a copy of your mineral deed (and the previous deeds) in your files.  Non-producing minerals tend to be “out of sight, out of mind” and are easily forgotten.  Having a copy of your deed will help prevent this from happening.

Fortunately, it’s easy to locate most mineral deeds and other title documents related to your Wyoming mineral rights.

Google search: [County Name] + “deed search”

Example: Converse County WY Deed Search

One of the top results should take you to the county’s Register of Deeds and there will probably be a link to their online deed records.

Several counties in Wyoming use iDocMarket, which a subscription service. You can purchase a 24 hour pass for $5.

Simply search the county records for your name and the names of the people from whom you inherited the mineral rights.  Most of the time, you can search for free, and documents can be purchased for a few dollars.

You might find conveyances, deeds, assignments, affidavits of heirship, lease memos, and other relevant documents.

If you’re thinking about your estate plan, you might find our guide, Four Things Older Mineral Owners Should Consider,” to be thought-provoking.

converse county deed record search screenshot

Image Description: Screenshot of iDocMarket’s Wyoming county deed record options.

wyoming oil gas interactive gis map

Image Description: Wyoming’s interactive oil and gas well map.

Locating Your Mineral Rights in Wyoming

Wyoming provides an interactive GIS map that helps mineral owners locate their mineral rights and, if there are any wells, view the details about those wells.

The easiest way to locate your property is to search by legal description.

Your legal description will be on your deed or oil and gas lease.  You might also be able to find it on a will or in probate documents.

 

Paying Taxes for Mineral Taxes in Wyoming

All Wyoming oil and gas royalty owners pay federal income taxes on their royalty revenue.  The IRS allows royalty owners to deduct a 15% depletion on Federal taxes.

State Taxes

Wyoming is one of the few states that does not have a state income tax.

Property Taxes

Ad Valorem Taxes are county taxes levied on mineral rights. Like Oklahoma, Wyoming’s ad valorem taxes are paid by the operator and deducted from your royalty checks.  

oil well illustration

Image Description: Illustration of an oil pumpjack used on conventional (vertical) oil wells.

Wyoming Mineral Right FAQs

Browse these frequently asked questions about WY minerals.

How do I know if I own mineral rights in Wyoming?

This is a complex question, and there are many answers.  All property starts off as fee simple (the surface and the minerals are owned by the same person).  Sometimes, mineral rights are severed from the surface, creating two separate chains of title.  However, this is relatively unusual in Wyoming.  A significant portion of the property in Wyoming is unsevered, which means the same entity owns both the surface and the minerals.

Let’s go over a couple of scenarios:

You purchased a home with 20 acres of land

Most real property is sold through a standard real estate transaction, which requires a title company to review the history of land.  The title company probably knows if you own the mineral rights under your property.  You can ask them (or it might be in your documents).

You now own the 300 acre ranch that has been in your family for generations.

You may or may not own the mineral rights.  There is a significant chance that you do own the mineral rights, but you would have to do a title search to verify this. Trace the land ownership back to the original land patent, then trace it forward and look for any reservations or conveyances of mineral rights.  Most people do not have the skills to do this, so you may need to hire a landman or an attorney.

What happens to dormant minerals in Wyoming?

In Wyoming, the handling of dormant mineral rights—those mineral interests that have not been actively mined, leased, or worked for a period of time—can vary depending on specific circumstances and local regulations. Wyoming does not have a comprehensive statewide “dormant mineral” law like some other states, which often provide for the automatic reversion of unused mineral rights to surface owners after a certain period of inactivity. Instead, the fate of dormant minerals in Wyoming can be influenced by several factors:

Key Considerations for Dormant Minerals in Wyoming:
Title and Lease Agreements: The original mineral deeds or lease agreements might have specific clauses that address inactivity or abandonment. It’s important for mineral owners and lessees to review these agreements to understand any conditions or obligations that may affect the status of dormant minerals.

Use-It-or-Lose-It Provisions: While Wyoming doesn’t have a blanket statutory mechanism for reverting dormant minerals to surface owners, some private agreements or local regulations might include “use-it-or-lose-it” provisions that require mineral rights to be utilized within a certain timeframe or face potential forfeiture.

Statute of Limitations for Adverse Possession: Although adverse possession typically applies to surface rights, there are scenarios where it might influence mineral rights if the surface owner or another party effectively takes control of the minerals and exploits them for a continuous period under certain conditions.

Legal Actions for Clarification: In cases where the status of dormant minerals is unclear, parties may seek legal action to clarify ownership or rights to exploitation. This can include quiet title actions, where a court determines the rightful owner of the mineral rights.

Legislative Changes: Laws and regulations regarding mineral rights can evolve, so it’s important for those holding or interested in dormant mineral rights to stay informed about any legislative changes that might affect their interests.

I just inherited mineral rights. What should I do first?

Congratulations!  Welcome to the club of 12 million mineral owners. The United States is the only country where mineral rights are owned by individuals, so it’s a special club.

The first thing you need to do is make sure the mineral rights have been transferred to your name.  This process is not necessarily automatic, you may need to hire an attorney to probate an estate or draft mineral deeds.

If you have producing minerals (there are one or more wells on the property), you need to send your proof of ownership (usually a deed, divorce decree, or recorded probate documents) to the operator and ask them to transfer the ownership.

The operator will do their research, and if everything checks out, they will transfer the ownership to you.  They may send a division order to make sure that both of you agree about the amount of interest you own.

Be sure you keep copies of all your mineral documents – they will come in handy later and help you effectively manage your mineral rights.

How do I sell WV mineral rights?

It’s easy to sell your WV mineral rights and it doesn’t cost you anything.  Here is the basic process:

1.  Request an offer.  We’ll need to see your latest royalty statements. If you have more documents, such as deeds or 1099s, that’s great, but don’t worry if you have limited info.

2.  We will give you an offer. You can decide if you want to accept it, look for competing offers, or reject it.  Requesting an offer doesn’t obligate you to sell.

3.  If you want to proceed with the sale, we will do a title search and draft the closing documents.

4.  We will coordinate the closing process to meet both of our schedules. It is usually done remotely, but if you are in the DFW area, we can close in-person if you want.

 

 

wyoming oil gas well map

Image Description: Map of oil and gas wells in part of Wyoming.  Red = gas wells. Green = oil wells.  Orange = expired permits.

Where We Buy Mineral Rights

We buy both producing and non-producing minerals in all oil and gas states. However, we are especially interested in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas mineral rights.

We even buy minerals in more obscure states, such as Michigan and Illinois, which produce a very little oil and gas compared to other states.

oil and gas producing states map

How We Value Mineral Rights

There are many factors that play into the value of mineral rights. These include location, producing vs. non-producing properties, current oil and gas prices, well production figures, lease terms, and even the operator of the well or wells. We also look at the risks of buying and owning minerals that you are interested in selling.

Location

Minerals in the hottest shale plays are more valuable than those in older fields with conventional wells.

Producing vs. Non-Producing

Producing minerals are often worth more than non-producing minerals because they are generating revenue.

Oil & Gas Prices

When oil and gas prices drop, revenue drops, and sometimes operators are unable to continue operating the well.

Production

Highly productive wells (and off-set wells) can increase the value of your minerals.

Lease Terms

Favorable lease terms (such as a 25% royalty reservation) positively impact the value of the leased minerals.

Operator

A small number of operators are unethical, and their reputation automatically devalues your minerals.

Why Sell?

People sell mineral rights for a variety of reasons. As a mineral owner, you are fortunate to own an asset that can be quickly converted to cash. It is advisable to sell while you are still receiving royalties – after all, oil and gas are finite resources, and all well eventually run dry. It’s better to sell early and maximize the value.

Why People Sell Their Mineral Rights

I am putting my affairs in order. I don’t want to burden my kids with the hassle of transferring ownership and managing small mineral rights. When my sister passed away, my niece and nephew had to hire an attorney to help them with the minerals. I don’t want my kids to go through that.

Lynn E.

I inherited my mineral rights so they were sentimental, but I don’t really want to bother with managing them and filing extra tax returns. I decided to sell and use the money as a down payment on my house.

Elizabeth R.

I had no idea how fast the oil production would decline. My checks are only 20% of what they were a few years ago. I should have sold my mineral rights when the wells were brand new and still generating huge royalties.

Miguel F.

My oil wells have been producing for decades and the reserves are almost depleted. Once the wells are plugged, the value will be significantly lower. I’d rather cash out now.

Raymond R.

I inherited mineral rights, but don’t want to be involved with fracking and fossil fuels. I would prefer to support renewable energy and do my part to reverse climate change.

Pam H.

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