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Zoning and Land Use Affecting Oil and Gas Lease Title Examinations

Ramon P. Colvert, Mineral Title Examination (1977)

Ten years ago few oil and gas attorneys or petroleum land men ever had occasion to concern themselves with questions involving zoning and land use controls. At that time the topic assigned for consideration in this paper probably would have aroused little interest simply because zoning was the only land control mechanism then being utilized and it presented no major obstacle to the conduct of oil and gas operations except in urban areas. But, as we have since discovered, it was probably too much to expect that this situation would remain static for any extended period of time. Now we are faced with an almost entirely new set of facts and circumstances which form the basis for our present discussion. Before proceeding further, however, perhaps some clarification of the general subject matter can be provided by first disposing of certain background considerations.

Previous speakers at this Institute have already given the benefits of their knowledge, expertise and experience in the examination of titles to federal and other public lands, Indian lands and lands held in private ownership. As the topic of this paper embraces all three categories, some overlapping and duplication of effort was probably inevitable. However, it is hoped that the discussion which follows will serve to illustrate some of the problems which may be expected to arise in any oil and gas title examin