Mineral rights mysteries

Petroleum engineers’ business helps ND mineral owners

Submitted Photo Jeff Kummer, left, and Joel Brown, both petroleum engineers, started their own business, McKenzie Minerals Management, a company to help North Dakota mineral owners. In September they launched MineralTracker, a mineral management software.

Petroleum engineers by profession, Jeff Kummer and Joel Brown traded working for oil companies for starting their own business, McKenzie Minerals Management LLP, in Watford City.

Brown, who spoke to the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce’s Energy Committee Oct. 25, said he and Kummer had worked together for quite some time before starting the company.

Both being McKenzie County residents, he said family and friends with mineral rights were coming to them and asking them questions such as, “Am I getting paid correctly, why am I getting paid on this well but not this well?”

“These are tough questions that if you don’t have the background in the industry they are daunting to answer,” Brown said.

“The light bulb went off for us when we asked the question, ‘What do the other 100,000 mineral owners in North Dakota and outside of North Dakota who own mineral rights here do when they don’t have a petroleum engineer for a nephew or son or friend? Who do they go to ask?’ “ Brown said.

“With that in mind two years ago Brown and Kummer started McKenzie Mineral Management. He said they shifted from the “side of the table of working for the oil companies to really working on behalf of mineral owners – people around us and even one client that we have in England who has interests here in McKenzie County.”

Out of that, he said they opened up the Main Street-type business where people brought in their boxes of paperwork and had them answer their questions.

“The second light bulb really went off for us about one year ago when we were realizing we can only help so many people,” Brown said. They wondered how they could take their skills as petroleum engineers and their ability to analyze information, and how they could put that into the hands of the mineral owners themselves in their homes.

They came up with the idea to develop mineral management software called MineralTracker.

MineralTracker was launched Sept. 1.

“It’s useful not only to mineral owners but royalty owners, working interest owners – really anyone who has interest in wells in North Dakota,” Brown said.

He said the MineralTracker’s software can be accessed from any computer at a home.

MineralTracker can be used to ensure accurate mineral payments, project future royalty payments and organize and store important documents at an online account.

“But ultimately it can’t answer every question so our last feature is we’ve created a portal for you to gain access to me and my partner, Jeff, as petroleum engineers,” Brown said. He said people can type in any question and they will respond.

The cost of MineralTracker is $99 per month. A free 30-day trial is offered.

“The interesting thing is these wells are going to last. They’re going to continue producing for 40-plus years so we’re talking about multiple generations and families that are going to have to deal with mineral interests.

The MineralTrackers website is MineralTracker.com or call 833-842-2924.

(Prairie Profile is a weekly feature profiling interesting people in our region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Editor Mike Sasser at 857-1959 or Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944. Either can be reached at 1-800-735-3229. You also can send email suggestions to msasser@minotdailynews.com.)