The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 007 : MISCELLANEOUS(Cite as: 29 V.S.A. § 563)
§ 563. Abandonment of oil and gas interests; preservation
(a) An abandoned interest in oil and gas shall revert to and merge with the surface estate from which it was severed.
(b) An interest in oil and gas is deemed abandoned at any time that:
(1) it has been unused for a continuous period of 10 years after July 1, 1973; and
(2) no statement of interest under subsection (e) of this section has been filed at any time within the preceding five years.
(c) The provisions of subsection (b) of this section shall not apply to any interest in oil or gas that has been retained by the owner who originally severed the mineral estate from the surface estate, notwithstanding that other interests in the land, including ownership of the surface, may have been sold, leased, mortgaged, or otherwise transferred.
(d) This section applies to all interests in oil and gas. It also applies to interests in other minerals if created inclusively in the same instrument which expressly creates an oil and gas interest. It does not apply to mineral interests that do not expressly include an oil and gas interest or were intended to be separate from an oil and gas interest.
(e) An interest in oil and gas is deemed used at any time in which:
(1) there is actual production of oil or gas, including production from lands covered by a lease to which an oil and gas interest is subject, or from lands pooled or unitized with such lands; or
(2) oil and gas operations are conducted under the terms of the instrument creating the oil and gas interest; or
(3) payment is made of rental or royalties for the purpose of delaying the use or continuing the use of the oil and gas interest; or
(4) payment of taxes is made on the oil and gas interest; or
(5) there exists a currently valid permit under 10 V.S.A. chapter 151 or a currently valid drilling permit under this chapter for development of the oil and gas interest.
(f) The owner of an interest in oil or gas may file a statement of interest in the land records of any municipality in which the land affected is located. The statement shall include a description of the land affected, the nature of the interest claimed, the book and page of recording of the original grant of the interest, and the name and address of the person claiming the interest.
(g) The owner of the surface estate from which an oil and gas interest was severed may give notice of abandonment under this subsection. Notice shall contain the name of the record owner of the interest, a description of the land and the nature of the interest, the book and page of filing of the interest, if it is filed, the name and address of the person giving notice, and a statement that the interest is presumed abandoned. The notice shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the town or towns where the land affected is located. If the address of the owner of the oil and gas interest is shown on record, a copy of the notice shall be mailed to that address by certified or registered mail within 10 days after the date of publication.
(h) A copy of the notice under subsection (g) of this section, and an affidavit, may be filed in the land records of the municipality in which the land is located. The affidavit shall state that the oil or gas interest has been abandoned under the criteria set forth in subsection (b) of this section, and that notice of abandonment has been given under subsection (g). After the notice and affidavit have been filed, unless a court finds to the contrary, the oil and gas interest shall be presumed abandoned, and the interest of the surface owner shall be presumed for all purposes free of encumbrance from that interest. (Added 1981, No. 240 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. April 28, 1982; amended 2017, No. 24, § 2, eff. May 4, 2017.)