In the United States, laws are in place to allow the private purchase and ownership of land. With this ownership, the inhabitant can develop or exploit the land in any way they see appropriate as long as the activities do not violate the law. The good news is that this also includes the natural resources available beneath the surface of the land.
These freedoms are not common in other areas worldwide. For example, in the United Kingdom, all mineral rights belong to the state, whether or not the natural resources are held on privately-owned land. Since United States citizens are not held to this same standard, they are often in a unique position to sell the rights to those minerals to private corporations for a large up-front payment.
Market Value Influences Payment Potential
The amount that mineral rights are with will continually fluctuate based on the current market value of the mineral found on your property. While determining a precise value may be difficult, ballpark estimates can be used to determine if selling your mineral rights is a good fit for your unique needs.
On average, a single acre’s mineral rights can range from as low as $200 to over $10,000+ on the high end. As you might expect, the prices will vary depending on the mineral in question, the number of wells currently drilled, the current production rate, the existence of pipeline infrastructure, and much more. The easier it will be to begin producing quickly, the better your payment potential will likely be.
It is important to remember that no “average price” per acre exists, and the amount you are appraised for may be significantly different from a neighboring property owner. Suppose you have an older vertical well on the property that is active with a 25% lease, and your neighbor has a 12.5% lease with five wells drilled and producing oil for several years. In that case, your mineral rights could be worth over $10K, while the neighbor may only net $1K due to a lack of remaining oil.