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Oil and gas law: What is the rule of capture?

Those who own land in Louisiana that sits above gas and oil stores have the property rights to those valuable resources. This is pretty basic property law. However, oil and gas laws do not necessarily abide by basic property laws. According to oil and gas laws, it is possible to claim the property rights to these stores if one's well draws them up from neighboring land. How does this work?

Oil and gas are known to move underground. So, it is not out of the question that one might drill a well on one's own property, and it may pull these resources from a neighbor. Some would argue that this is stealing personal property, and at some point, that may have been the case, but now it just is not so.

While traditional laws state that landowners have the property rights to everything within their land boundaries, both above and below ground, the rule of capture was introduced, which allows a person who draws up oil and gas to keep it if it came up through a well located on his or her land -- it does not matter where these resources originated. The only way to prevent someone from taking one's oil and gas stores is to build a well and draw them up before they move to neighboring land. On this issue, the law is quite clear.

Oil and gas laws can be difficult to read and even harder to understand. Property owners in Louisiana who need clarification on the rule of capture or any other gas and oil laws may turn to an experienced attorney for answers. With assistance, any issues one might have in regard to oil and gas extraction and ownership can be resolved swiftly.

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