Mineral Code for the State of Louisiana
Selected excerpts are given below:
Art. 4. The provisions of this code are applicable to all forms of minerals, including oil and gas. They are also
applicable to rights to explore for or mine or remove from land the soil itself, gravel, shells, subterranean water,
or other substances occurring naturally in or as a part of the soil or geological formations on or underlying the
Anything of value on or under the land is a mineral, including oil and gas.
Ownership of land includes all minerals occurring naturally in a solid state. Solid minerals are
insusceptible of ownership apart from the land until reduced to possession.
Solid minerals (gravel, coal, etc) are part of the land itself and are owned by the landowner.
Art. 6. Ownership of land does not include ownership of oil, gas, and other minerals occurring naturally in
liquid or gaseous form, or of any elements or compounds in solution, emulsion, or association with such
minerals. The landowner has the exclusive right to explore and develop his property for the production of such
minerals and to reduce them to possession and ownership.
Oil, gas, etc, that occur in liquid or gaseous state is not owned by the landowner.
who has a well and is producing oil and/or gas from both his and his neighbor’s land is doing so
The landowner has the right to explore and develop his property to produce this same oil
and/or gas in competition with his neighbor.
The Office of Conservation was created to prevent
the drilling of unnecessary wells by power of unitization, etc, which will be discussed later.
Art. 8. A landowner may use and enjoy his property in the most unlimited manner for the purpose of discovering
and producing minerals, provided it is not prohibited by law.
He may reduce to possession and ownership all of
the minerals occurring naturally in a liquid or gaseous state that can be obtained by operations on or beneath his
land even though his operations may cause their migration from beneath the land of another.
This is the “Rule of Capture”, that is, whoever captures the oil and/or gas owns it.
This rule is
analogous to the wild duck.
No one owns the duck until it is reduced to possession.
Art. 14. A landowner has no right against another who causes drainage of liquid or gaseous minerals from
beneath his property if the drainage results from drilling or mining operations on other lands. This does not affect
his right to relief for negligent or intentional waste under Articles 9 and 10, or against another who may be
contractually obligated to protect his property from drainage.
The “Rule of Capture” prevails.
However, it also protects the landowner from negligent or
intentional waste, such as a blowout where oil and/or gas are lost, etc.
He can expect an entity
that holds a lease on his property (an oil company) to protect his interests, such as drilling a well
on his property to prevent the neighbor from producing all of the oil and/or gas.