Legal Location

Legal location is also called legal description, and the two terms are used interchangeably in the oil and gas industry. It concerns the geographical location of oil and gas reservoirs, which is critical in terms of mineral extraction, production, and sales.

Generally, the oil and gas industry is quite typical for terminologies. So, if you’re involved in this field, it’s important to know the right words and what they mean. Otherwise, it can lead to legal complications, and you’re likely to miss out on some important aspects of legal transactions and the identification of the legal property.

So, in this post, we will talk about legal location and understand what it means. Then, we will further explore the different system types that you must know when we talk about legal locations. So, let’s get started.

What is a Legal Location?

A legal location or a legal description is a documentary form of description. It describes the geographical features of a property in the oil and gas industry. It’s written to delineate any type of real estate property.

But, more importantly, a legal description or legal location also encircles the amount and nature or minerals that may be underneath the surface of the earth in that specific area.

So, if the owners don’t state the right things while defining a legal location, it leads to unwanted troubles and financial complications. Therefore, every legal location must be identified with a degree of certainty.

Hence, it is easier to identify the property when you put in the right numbers. Hence, it will aid the parties at the time of legal transactions.

The legal description may be important for numerous reasons. Firstly, it determines the nature and extent of legal transactions that you can make, based on the figures and description of your location.

What Do You Need for a Legal Location?

There can be different requirements in different regions related to the legal description of a property. For instance, if you talk about Texas, their list of requirements for the legal location or legal description includes:

  • Name of your country
  • Abstract Number
  • Block Section or Survey Number
  • Survey Name
  • Alternate Name

Likewise, you will need to anticipate the following parameters to lay out a legal description if you’re in Oklahoma. These include:

  • Name of the Country
  • Name of the Section
  • Name of Township and Range
  • Longitude and Latitude values of the property
  • Tax Parcel IDs

Further Exploring Legal Location

Legal location or legal description is a slightly complicated subject. That’s mainly because it’s dependent on multiple survey systems. In addition, depending on the type of survey system, the dynamics of a legal description can change dramatically.

What are Survey Systems?

Survey systems are essential parameters when you’re describing a legal location. These systems are responsible for how the tracts of any land are described. Mainly, there are two types of such systems.

Each of these systems is used in different geographical locations within the US. So, it’s important to know which system would be more relevant to you and what it implies. Here is a discussion that will help you understand further.

Metes and Bounds System

The Metes and Bounds system describes a piece or parcel of land. Surveyors use this system to precisely describe the metrics involved with the geographical location. It considers angles, directions, and distances to describe certain boundaries that apply to a property.

When surveyors work with the metes and bounds system, they first identify a landmark and use it as a starting point for their measurements. Then, generally, it is used as a compass to set directions and distances with the next corner of the property.

Once the surveyors successfully find the next property corner, they would mark the line for the next property. Eventually, they reach the beginning mark. This technique is highly effective for marking and describing geographical locations with irregular shapes. It’s accurate and provides a higher precision than some of the other methods.

The Metes and Bounds system is generally used in some parts of Hawaii and Texas. Also, it was a common practice in 13 original colonies in the US.

Public Land Survey System (PLSS)

Thomas Jefferson introduced the Public Land Survey System in the eighteenth century. It was formally established in 1785. It’s popularly known as the Rectangular Survey System, and it’s one of the more commonly used systems in the US.

It’s a more sophisticated approach to defining legal locations, and it’s quite handy for an accurate depiction of geographical boundaries in the oil and gas sector. The Public Land Survey System uses certain parameters that locate and describe a legal location.

These parameters include:


Townships cover a larger area and are used to set boundaries after every six-mile distance. These boundaries are set vertically from North to South and horizontally from East to West. So, it means that each township has a 36 square mile area, and it’s perfectly square, unlike the Metes and Bounds System, which provides more irregular geographical locations.


Range refers to setting boundaries in the vertical direction from North to South. It establishes an area that is 6 miles wide. If you want to figure out a range, you can do that through the Township number with an ‘R’ prefix.


A section is a subdivision of a township. Every township is divided into 36 equal sections, each having a one square mile area. Every section is numbered from 1 to 36 in a specific township.

As each section has a size of 640 acres, it is further divided into quarters. Each quarter is called the Aliquot Part. To describe a legal section, you will need the section number, Township name, range with direction, name of the state, and the principal meridian’s name.

The Public Land Survey System is widely used in the US. Except for the 13 colonies and a few regions of Hawaii and Texas, the PLSS method determines and describes a legal location for mineral resources in the country.


When you’re looking for a legal description or legal location, it is critical to know its dynamics. It helps in accurate transactions and convenient sales of legal properties. However, even when you know the basics of legal location, it’s best to consult a legal expert on mineral law to get more detailed insights about these subjects. It can help you prevent any unwanted legal or financial trouble during sales.