As many Texas landowners are aware, oil and gas pipelines are being constructed at an almost frantic pace these days. The first time a landowner is aware that they may be asked to sign a pipeline easement is a usually a call from a land man or right-of-way agent requesting permission to conduct a survey on their property.
Many landowners simply give verbal permission or sign the one paragraph form offered to them by the land man or agent. That can be a mistake. If you’re interested in protecting your property, you should consider using an appropriate survey permit to govern the pipeline company’s surveying activities on your property. That is even more true for geophysical or seismic permits.
A survey permit should address at least the following issues:
- The correct legal description of the property.
- Notice to the landowner of when the survey crew will be entering the property and doing the work.
- Designation of access points for entering the property.
- Limitations on the types of work that can be done.
- Limitations on the area where the work can be done.
- Compensation for damages.
- In some cases, payment for the right to survey.
- Guidelines or limitations on the use of existing roads and any damage to roads.
- A description of the equipment that will be used.
- Indemnities by the surveyor and pipeline company for any damages and for any claims for injuries.
- A description of the landowner’s remedies if the survey crew violates the terms of the permit.
This is not a complete list. These are just some of the items that a properly drafted survey permit should include. If you are approached by a land man or right-of-way agent who wants to do a survey on your property, you might want to consider consulting an oil and gas attorney who can draft an appropriate survey permit for you. While you may not want a pipeline on your property, if the pipeline is going to be a common carrier pipeline, you may not have a choice. The best you can do is to make sure that the survey process goes smoothly and that you and your property are protected. A written permit is the best way to accomplish that.