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Land Use

Access to land, and the minerals beneath it, is the basis for all wealth in the upstream petroleum industry. Oil company land departments negotiate access with owners, make arrangements with joint venture partners and acquire oil and gas rights.

Gas Plant near Crooked LakeExploration companies deal with two types of real estate. Surface rights are the rights to work on the surface of the land. Mineral rights are the rights to explore for and produce the resources below the surface. The two kinds of rights are usually owned separately. Mineral rights are owned by individuals called freeholders, who are usually the descendants of early settlers, by the federal government, or most commonly by the provincial government. Government-owned rights are referred to as Crown rights. Certain companies own surface and mineral rights under land concessions granted by the federal government in the nineteenth century. First Nations communities also may own surface or mineral rights.

Petroleum Communication Foundation. Our Petroleum Challenge: Exploring Canada's Oil and Gas Industry, Sixth Edition. Calgary: Petroleum Communication Foundation, 1999. With permission from the Centre for Energy.



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