Land title splitting addressed at meeting

Alberta families are splitting up their mineral right titles to such a degree that energy companies are finding it tough to deal with them, says the president of the Freehold Owners Association.

Alberta families are splitting up their mineral right titles to such a degree that energy companies are finding it tough to deal with them, says the president of the Freehold Owners Association.

Else Pedersen said members of her association will address the fracturing of titles during Saturday’s annual general meeting at Red Deer’s CrossRoads Church, west of the 32nd Street overpass at Hwy 2.

“Saskatchewan has put a limit of four owners on title and here we have, as an oil company told us not too long ago, we have 101 people on title,” Pedersen said. “So you can see the difficulty industry has in doing business with freehold mineral rights owners.”

Families will be urged to consolidate their holdings, either through a corporation or a trust or other mechanism.

“And we need help from government because we need to get that message out. It’s become a crisis.”

Freehold owners are descendants of Alberta pioneers who bought mineral rights along with surface rights to their land in the early 1900s — before provincial laws gave the Crown all mineral rights.

About 50,000 titles of freehold mineral land are scattered through Alberta.

The association has invited Dan McFayden, chairman of the Energy Resources Conservation Board, to speak at the association’s annual general meeting.

McFayden will be asked to address whether freehold mineral rights owners should be notified when municipal annexation occurs in their area.

Owners also want some clarification on a “capable of production” clause within the lease freehold owners sign with companies regarding well production. The companies can then shut in wells, no matter how little they may be producing, for a lengthy period of time.

“It doesn’t free up the land back to the freehold owner so they can lease it to somebody else, who might produce it from a different zone,” Pedersen said.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Members pay $20 for individuals and couples, nonmembers pay $30.

Yearly memberships will be sold at the door for $50 per person or couple. Lunch is $10.

For more information, call 403-245-4438 or e-mail fhoa@shaw.ca or go online at www.fhoa.ca

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

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