If you think oil and gas industry in the United States, one word immediately comes to mind: Texas. The state's relationship with oil dates back at the beginning of the 20th century when old drillers stuck black gold. The first drillings were in fact endeavours to look for water. Historians point to Jan. 10, 1901 as the key date that gave rise to the modern oil industry in the United States.
Before the speculators came, the American Indians were already using oil that seeped on the surface for medicinal purposes and even before that, explorers from Spain used the oil to wax their boots. Perhaps it was providential that a decade prior to the discovery of oil, changes have begun to take effect in Texas in the form of railroads. More than any other innovations, the tracks were responsible for building of new towns.
As new technologies are introduced in oil production, oil engineers and geologists are able to produce natural gas, which has become an industry in itself. Today, Texas is the biggest producer of natural gas in the United States, comprising about a fifth of the nearly 400,000 gas wells throughout the country. Other states that produce gas include Arizona, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, West Virginia and Nevada.
Natural gas can also be harnessed to generate electricity, cook food, fertilize plants and even power up cars. Just to give you an idea of how big an industry it is, the United States, according to the Energy Information Administration, produces a fifth of the world's 95 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. So there's really a huge market out there and it's no wonder that companies not only drill for oil but also for gas as well.
There's no scarcity in the number of oil and gas companies that specialize in purchasing gas and oil royalties so idle properties can be liquidated and converted into assets. If you think the phone book is too heavy, a quick Google search will do the trick.
It's best to study each company's background to find out what's best for you. Good companies offer signing bonuses, free consultations on the potential gas yield, or covering half of your cash needs upfront. But you should also consider their previous transactions to find out if the landowner's interest is not exploited for profits, or if their practices run in contrast to sound practices for sustainable environment.
Lastly, all these don't matter if your margin of income remains small. Ask for the gas and oil company's policies on fair market pricing and other increments. Take their offer at face value but don't be afraid to shop around for best deal. Ask for different types of royalties or if you can still earn out of non-producing properties. Only then can you decide which best of them fit your needs.