Texas Oil and Gas Lease Cases

In Texas it has long been recognized that an oil and gas lease is not a "lease" in the traditional sense of a lease of the surface of real property. Cherokee Water Co. v. Forderhause, 641 S.W.2d 522, 525, 25 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 470 (Tex. 1982). In a typical oil or gas lease, the lessor is a grantor and grants a fee simple determinable interest to the lessee, who is actually a grantee. See W. T. Waggoner Estate v. Sigler Oil Co., 118 Tex. 509, 19 S.W.2d 27, 28-29 (Tex. 1929). Consequently, the lessee/grantee acquires ownership of all the minerals in place that the lessor/grantor owned and purported to lease, subject to the possibility of reverter in the lessor/grantor. The lessee's/grantee's interest is "determinable" because it may terminate and revert entirely to the lessor/grantor upon the occurrence of events that the lease specifies will cause termination of the estate.