Oil & Gas

Published: Sep 26, 2022 | Updated at: Apr 01, 2024

When delving into oil and gas property transactions, understanding the distinction between net mineral acre vs net royalty acre is vital. Net mineral acre reflects the amount of land ownership with rights to minerals below the surface, while net royalty acre measures the income potential from those minerals. This article will demystify these concepts and explain their importance in the valuation of property rights and income assessment in the energy sector.

Key Takeaways

  • Net mineral acres (NMA) indicate an individual’s ownership over a portion of land, essential for property valuation, while net royalty acres (NRA) reflect the potential income from mineral rights, crucial for assessing property value in transactions.

  • Calculating NMA involves multiplying the gross acreage by the ownership interest percentage, whereas NRA calculation can vary but often converts NMA to NRA using a standard royalty rate, for example, a 1/8th royalty rate for normalization.

  • Accurate calculations of NMA and NRA are vital to avoid legal disputes, ensure enforceable contracts, and correctly determine the financial valuation and viability of oil and gas exploration and production projects.

Key Takeaways

In the heart of oil and gas transactions lie two key indicators: net mineral acres (NMA) and net royalty acres (NRA). The NMA represents the portion of land that an individual has rights and ownership over within a larger tract. This is crucial for estimating the property’s value. On the other hand, NRA reflects the potential income per acre from mineral rights and are used by buyers to assess the total value before making a transaction.

The NMA is calculated by multiplying the gross acreage by one’s mineral interest percentage. NRA, on the other hand, can be calculated in two ways, the ‘old’ and ‘modern’ methods, with the modern method providing a clearer understanding of the extracted mineral value. Understanding both these concepts is essential for landowners to make informed decisions when selling mineral rights.

Defining Net Mineral Acre and Net Royalty Acre

Illustration of land with underground resources

In the oil and gas industry, net mineral acres and net royalty acres are fundamental measures used to reflect ownership interest and potential revenue. To simplify, net mineral acres refer to the portion of leased land that a petroleum or natural gas company actually holds as part of their working interest, accounting for the specific percentage of ownership. This is crucial in the process leading up to the refinery stage, where the raw materials are transformed into usable products.

Net Mineral Acre

The net mineral acre is a specific measurement that reflects the percentage of mineral ownership within a given area of land. To calculate net mineral acres, you multiply the gross acres, or total land area, by the company’s ownership interest percentage in the lease. For instance, if an oil and gas company has full working interest in a project, its net mineral acres are equal to the gross acreage.

Assessing net mineral acres is crucial for an accurate valuation of a property, especially when considering the resale of assets.

Net Royalty Acre

Net royalty acres, on the other hand, represent a landowner’s royalty interest in an oil and gas lease. The calculation of net royalty acres involves multiplying the landowner’s interest percentage by the number of acres in the tract of land. To standardize the calculation, net mineral acres are often converted to net royalty acres using a 1/8th (12.5%) royalty rate.

For instance, 40 net mineral acres leased at a 25% royalty rate would convert to 80 net royalty acres. This calculation is crucial in determining the share of revenue derived from royalty payments.

Ownership and Land Rights in Oil and Gas Industry

Illustration of land ownership rights

The oil and gas industry operates with a unique set of rules when it comes to land ownership. Ownership in this sector is split between surface estates, which encompass land and buildings, and mineral estates, which pertain to subterranean resources like oil, gas, and deposits of minerals, including sedimentary rock and other substances. Surface rights and subsurface mineral rights can be owned and conveyed independently of each other.

Moreover, ownership rights may be mineral-specific, which allows for the separation of oil rights from natural gas rights. Let’s delve into these rights with a deeper focus.

Mineral Rights

Mineral rights are entitlements to underground resources and can be bought and sold separately from the land itself. These rights authorize the holder to extract resources such as oil, natural gas, and precious minerals, which may be located far beneath the surface. Landowners can own oil and gas interests beneath their property, which can be divided or leased out, enabling them to profit from the resources without directly engaging in extraction activities.

The ability to extract and sell these materials makes mineral rights a critical element in the industry, as they can define the extent of extraction rights and impact mining operations.

Surface Rights

Surface rights, on the other hand, pertain to the use of land for various activities, primarily on the earth’s surface and sometimes extending several feet below the surface. These rights grant the owner the ability to engage in residential, agricultural, or commercial uses of the land above ground. Surface rights do not include rights to any minerals located beneath the land’s surface, which are covered under separate mineral rights.

Thus, owning surface rights allows landowners to control activities such as farming, construction, and maintenance on their property, which is a part of the earth’s crust, while separating them from the complex world of mineral extraction.

Royalty Interests

Royalty interests represent a financial interest reserved by a mineral owner when they lease their oil and gas rights. These interests can be structured in various ways, often defined as either fractional royalties or a fraction of the total royalty. The method by which royalty interests are structured directly influences how net royalty acres are calculated. In other words, the way royalty interests are negotiated and structured can significantly affect the amount of revenue that landowners and operators receive from oil and gas production.

This makes understanding royalty interests a key aspect for both landowners and operators in the industry.

Comparing Net Mineral Acre and Net Royalty Acre

Comparison illustration of net mineral acre and net royalty acre

At first glance, net mineral acres and net royalty acres may seem similar, but they serve different purposes in the oil and gas industry. Net mineral acres are indicative of the ownership interest in land, while net royalty acres focus on the revenue potential from mineral production on that land.

For example, owning a 1/4 mineral interest in a 640-acre tract results in 160 net mineral acres, whereas a 1/4 lease royalty interest on the same tract yields 320 net royalty acres. Understanding these differences is crucial in property valuation and lease negotiations.

Value Assessment

When it comes to assessing the value of a property, both net mineral and royalty acres play crucial roles. The value of a property is assessed using net mineral acres to determine land ownership interest and net royalty acres to estimate the potential financial worth of mineral rights. This assessment takes into account current and future factors that influence mineral values.

During lease negotiations, understanding ownership interests in terms of net royalty acres is key to evaluating offers, as offers to purchase royalties or mineral rights are commonly made in dollars per net royalty acre. Therefore, correctly distinguishing between net mineral acres and net royalty acres is essential to avoid undervaluing assets, which could otherwise lead to legal disputes and financial disagreements.

Lease Negotiations

In the realm of lease negotiations, understanding net mineral acres is fundamental as it leads to determining the net royalty acres and establishing the tract’s total potential royalty value. Net royalty acres represent the revenue share that landowners are entitled to receive from wells on their leased land. The calculation of net royalty acres during lease negotiations is critical, as it is directly tied to the royalty interests and influences the terms and agreements between the landowner and the oil company.

To avoid legal disputes and ensure clear mutual understanding, lease agreements should precisely define terms such as ‘Net Royalty Acres’, impacting the final purchase price and enforceability of contracts.

Importance of Accurate Calculations

Legal implications concept illustration

The world of oil and gas is a complex landscape of numbers and calculations. Accurate calculations of net mineral and net royalty acres are vitally important in this industry. They are crucial for creating enforceable contracts in mineral estate transactions. The calculation for converting net mineral acres (NMA) to net royalty acres (NRA) is critical, and it involves dividing the royalty rate by 0.125 and multiplying by the number of net mineral acres.

Miscalculations in these metrics can result in disputes over the enforceability of contracts, especially when terms such as ‘Net Royalty Acres’ are not mutually understood. Therefore, diligence about the differences between NMA and NRA is crucial to avoid missed opportunities due to overlooks or miscalculations.

Legal Implications

Inaccurate net mineral acre calculations can lead to serious legal implications. For instance, they can lead to discrepancies in the Division Order, leading to potential legal disputes over incorrect royalty payments or inherited interests. When heirs inherit mineral rights, calculation errors can complicate the inherited Net Revenue Interest, which may result in legal action to rectify impacted inheritance and royalty distributions.

Therefore, accurate calculations and analysis are not just about numbers; they are about ensuring the legality and enforceability of contracts in the oil and gas industry.

Financial Consequences

In addition to the legal implications, inaccurate calculations of net mineral and royalty acres can have significant financial consequences. They can lead to:

  • significant disparities in the valuation of mineral acres

  • incorrect royalty payments either as overpayments or underpayments

  • miscalculations in mineral rights resulting in substantial financial consequences like overpayment or loss of value

  • exacerbated financial consequences in volatile commodity markets.

Therefore, operators need to ensure the accurate calculation of net acres to make reliable predictions on the productivity and viability of their exploration and production projects.

Case Study: Net Mineral Acre vs Net Royalty Acre in Action

Historically, a case required a Mississippi court to resolve confusion from royalty assignments by defining 1 net mineral acre as equivalent to 1 net royalty acre leased at a traditional 1/8th royalty rate. When the lease specifies a 1/8th royalty, the net mineral acres are equal to the net royalty acres; in cases where the royalty is higher, such as a 1/4th royalty, the net mineral acres may be twice the amount of net royalty acres.

In a modern context, calculating net royalty acres for a lease with an 18.75% royalty rate on 100 net mineral acres results in 18.75 net royalty acres. This case demonstrates how different royalty rates can impact the value of the minerals extracted, highlighting the importance of understanding the respective calculations.

Tips for Landowners and Operators

As we’ve seen, the world of oil and gas is filled with complexities from legal to financial. To navigate this intricate landscape, landowners and operators should perform comprehensive due diligence before engaging in negotiations or signing agreements to ensure a clear understanding of what is being leased or acquired. Additionally, to navigate complex calculations and legal considerations, landowners and operators are encouraged to solicit the expertise of professionals, such as landmen, attorneys, and financial advisors, in the oil and gas industry.

Let’s delve deeper into these focused tips on plants, getting straight to the point of pressure.

Due Diligence

Understanding the distinction between net mineral acres (NMA) and net royalty acres (NRA) is critical for obtaining equitable value and price in land transactions involving mineral interests. Landowners should conduct due diligence by investigating property histories and existing covenants or easements that may affect their rights and restrictions pertaining to the land. Both public and private ownerships of oil and gas interests are documented and accessible in the public records of various states or federal agencies.

A clear understanding of net mineral acres and net royalty acres is essential for mineral rights owners to accurately estimate the full value of their property and ensure correct royalty payments.

Professional Assistance

Net mineral acres are an intricate industry-specific metric, essential in the valuation and management of oil and gas resources. The complexity of calculating net mineral acres correctly signifies the importance of having specialized knowledge within the oil and gas domain. Even experienced industry professionals may need current expertise to navigate and accurately interpret terms like net mineral acre and net royalty acre, underlining the benefit of professional advice.

Benefits of Buying Mineral & Royalty Interest

Ownership of mineral and royalty interests can be a lucrative venture. There are many benefits to buying mineral royalty interests. Royalty interests give the owner the rights to a percentage of the minerals produced from a piece of property. These rights can be very valuable, especially if the property is located in an area with high mineral production.

One of the biggest benefits of buying your royalty interest is that it can provide a steady stream of income. This is because the owner of the royalty interest will receive payments every time the minerals are extracted from the property. Royalty interests can also be sold or leased, which can provide a source of capital for the owner.

How to Buy Mineral Interests

Buying mineral interests can be a complex process, but with the right tools and resources, it can be streamlined and efficient. Using halsell.com, one can:

  • Source mineral interest via Texas county appraisal mineral records

  • Manage their workflow and outreach more efficiently

  • Access a platform with a slew of features that facilitate efficient sourcing and management of mineral interests

Benefits to Selling Mineral & Royalty Interest

Just as there are benefits to buying mineral and royalty interests, there are also benefits to selling these interests. By selling your mineral rights, you can:

  • Generate a lump sum of money that can be used for other investments

  • Free yourself from the complexities and uncertainties associated with the oil and gas industry

  • No longer have to worry about fluctuating market prices or the costs associated with the extraction process

  • Enjoy the financial benefits upfront

Top 5 Mineral Buyers in Texas

When it comes to selling your mineral interests, it’s important to find a trustworthy and reliable buyer. In Texas, the top mineral buyers include:

  • Halsell Minerals: Halsell Minerals is a private energy land acquisition company that focuses primarily on the Permian basin of West Texas and New Mexico.

  • Riverbend Energy Group: Riverbend is a multi-faceted investment firm, utilizing risk-weighted deal evaluation processes to deploy capital into a variety of investment theses in the U.S. energy sector. They buy operated interest, non-operated interest, mineral and royalty interests.

  • Cortez Resources: is a private oil and gas exploration and production company focused on prospect generation and leasehold, mineral, and royalty acquisitions. Their assets span over 700,000 gross acres across the United States, under multiple active basins, and currently manage interests in over a thousand wells. They are always looking to grow their portfolio and are currently targeting assets in the Permian basin and Gulf Coast region, as well as other unconventional plays in the lower 48 United States.

  • Pegasus Resources: backed by private equity group, Encap Investments, Pegasus has deployed over $1B into mineral and royalties across the Midland and Delaware Basins.

  • Tumbleweed Royalty: was founded in 2014 by Cody Campbell and John Sellers with the focus on mineral, royalty and overriding royalty acquisitions in the Permian Basin in West Texas. Since its inception, the team has been able to assemble assets across four different entities (Tumbleweed I – Tumbleweed IV) in partnership with a group of world class capital sponsors (Apollo, Magnetar, Quantum and EnCap).

These companies have a strong reputation in the industry and offer competitive prices for mineral and royalty interests.

Step by Step How to Buy Mineral Interests

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of buying and selling mineral interests, let’s delve into the step-by-step process of buying mineral interests. Using halsell.com can greatly simplify this process with its various features designed to streamline sourcing and management of mineral interests. If you are not a landman, hiring a petroleum landman is always recommended before getting involved in a transcation.

1) Search Texas County Appraisal Mineral Records

The first step in buying mineral interests is sourcing. Texas County Courthouse Records include a range of documents such as:

  • deeds

  • liens

  • leases

  • plats

  • assignments

  • easements

These records can be searched for mineral ownership and appraisal data. Non-producing minerals in Texas are occasionally listed in mineral tax rolls; however, this is not common. Appraisal District Records may contain taxes paid on properties, including interest and survey information. The state of Texas provides this data to the public for free. As of 2024, there are over 1.35 million individual mineral owners in the state of Texas. All made possible by the 161,408 oil wells and 84,725 gas wells that are currently active in Texas, according to the Texas Railroad Commission.

Halsell lead generation demo video

Websites like Mineral Holders and Halsell CAD Mineral Rolls can be used to find production ownership information on properties. The Railroad Commission of Texas provides a GIS map to check leases against surveys and abstract names. It is possible to track down accurate property descriptions through a combination of tax records, lease agreements, and research tools.

2) Contact Mineral Owner

Once you have sourced potential mineral interests, the next step is communication. You can call and text prospects directly through the Halsell VoIP platform. This feature allows for easy and efficient communication, making it easier to negotiate terms and reach agreements.

Illustration of a team using CRM software to manage customer relationships

3) Send an Offer Letter

After communicating with prospects and getting a feel for their interest in selling, the next step is to draft an offer letter to allow the mineral owner to warm up to the idea of selling and give you a chance to build rapport with mineral owner. With Halsell, drafting an offer letter is as easy as clicking a button. The offer letter generator automatically drafts a letter, saving you time and ensuring that all necessary details are included.

Illustration of a team using CRM software to manage customer relationships

4) Agreements Signed Electronically

Contracts are an integral part of any transaction, and they are no different in the oil and gas industry. To simplify the process, Halsell offers electronic signature features. With Halsell eSign, contracts can be signed electronically, making the process faster and more efficient.

Illustration of a team using CRM software to manage customer relationships

5) Close the Deal!

The final step in buying mineral interests is closing the deal. To finalize the purchase of mineral rights, one must negotiate terms, confirm understanding of the agreement, and have the deal legally documented and signed by both parties.

With all the steps completed, you’ve successfully purchased your mineral interests.


Recap illustration of net mineral and royalty acres

Understanding the distinction between net mineral acres and net royalty acres is crucial for mineral rights owners to determine the value of their property and make informed decisions in transactions. Knowing how to calculate net mineral and royalty acres allows property owners to accurately assess potential profits when considering selling their mineral interests. In the oil and gas industry, net mineral acres represent the actual land ownership interest, while net royalty acres are used to compute the financial value of the property based on the royalty rate.

Understanding net mineral and royalty acres is crucial for assessing a company’s true working interest in the oil and gas industry. Net mineral acres and net royalty acres are key metrics that provide insights into a company’s potential revenue and its expansion or contraction within the industry. Calculating net mineral and royalty acres involves considering the percentage of ownership a company has in a lease and the total acreage involved.

Net royalty acres signify the royalty interest a landowner holds in an oil and gas lease, which affects the valuation of mineral or royalty interests.


In the world of oil and gas, understanding the nuances of terminology is crucial. The distinction between net mineral acres and net royalty acres is not just a matter of semantics; it can significantly impact property valuation and lease negotiations. With these key metrics, property owners can accurately assess potential profits when considering selling their mineral interests. However, the importance of accurate calculations cannot be overstated. Inaccuracies can lead to legal implications and financial consequences. Therefore, it’s crucial for professionals in the oil and gas industry to be diligent about understanding these terms to avoid missed opportunities due to overlooks or miscalculations. Armed with this knowledge, both landowners and operators can navigate the complex landscape of the oil and gas industry with increased confidence and success.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a mineral acre and a royalty acre?

The difference between a mineral acre and a royalty acre depends on the percentage royalty specified in the lease. If the lease has a 1/8th standard royalty, then NMA equals NRA. However, with a 1/4th royalty, NMA equals 2(NRA).

How do you convert mineral acres to royalty acres?

To convert mineral acres to royalty acres, simply divide your royalty decimal by 0.125 and then multiply this number by your NMA. It's a straightforward calculation that involves using your royalty rate and the number of net mineral acres you own.

What is net royalty acres?

Net royalty acres represent the owner's share of production from a specific tract of land, calculated by multiplying the owner's interest in the tract by the total number of acres. This determines the portion of production to which the owner is entitled.

How do you calculate net royalty per acre?

You can calculate the net royalty per acre by multiplying the total acres in the tract by the percentage of minerals owned, then multiplying by 8, the royalty interest reserved in the lease, and the fraction of royalty interest being sold. After getting the net royalty acres, you can then divide the total offer price by the net royalty acres to find the price per net royalty acre. In this case, the buyer is offering $781.25 per net royalty acre.

What do net mineral acres represent in the oil and gas industry?

Net mineral acres in the oil and gas industry represent the portion of leased land that a petroleum or natural gas company holds as part of their working interest, taking into account the specific percentage of ownership.

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