Fracking is keeping this West Texas ranch in the family

Ezra Levant reports for

Fracking the Permian Basin shale is transforming ranchers in the West Texas area.

I was invited onto the Williamson ranch where Katie Bess and her husband Franklin have leased their property and mineral rights on the land that has been in Katie Bess’ family for five generations.

The fracking will let them keep their land and continue to ranch for generations to come.

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  • Brett_McS

    I don’t know how it is in Canada, but unlike in the US the property owner doesn’t own the rights to what’s under the ground in Australia, so in the corresponding case the farmer would be paid for use of the land by the miners but would not automatically get royalties from the mine.

  • Waffle

    The average royalty in Texas is about 18% — the landowner negotiates with the oil company. I have seen leases with a royalty as low as 16 2/3% and some as high as 22%. The landowner get his/her royalty before any costs or expenses associated with the production. How do I know? a) I took a course at the University of Oklahoma on Texas oil and gas law, and b) I have owned mineral rights in Texas for more than 25 years.

    In Canada, I wouldn’t have that option because the province has dibs on the mineral rights. In Ontario only “patented ” land has the mineral rights attached. I don’t know too much about them but they are very rare — few and far between and I think they were initially associated with the harvesting of lumber.

    • johnbrooks3

      I think the “crown” owns all the land under your feet.

      • Waffle

        You are correct — the crown — in this case the province — owns the mineral rights and thus any royalties from production are paid to it rather than the landowner who has only the surface rights.

  • johnbrooks3

    Wait till they start drinking the water. Fracking isn’t all its cracked up to be. Poisioning of America.

    • Waffle

      Not true. The Texas Railroad Commission is the regulatory body governing all aspects of oil and gas production including the drilling of as well as the plugging and abandonment of wells. The number of rules and regulations is so extensive, they even specify how far apart wells must be drilled. Texas is hardly the “wild west” Canadians would like to think it is.

      Frakking and its association with horizontal drilling (please listen carefully to Ezra’s interview) has become the bete noir of the anti-frakking crowd. If frakking contaminated the aquifer, believe me, the screaming of the Texas farmers would be heard all the way to Canada.