nonownership theory.Oil & gas. A characterization of oil-and-gas rights used in a minority of jurisdictions, holding that the owner of a severed mineral interest does not have a present right to possess the oil and gas in place, but only to search for, develop, and produce it. • Because there is no right to present possession, the interest of such an owner in a nonownership-theory state is akin to a profit a prendre: a right to use the land and remove items of value from it. This theory is used in California, Wyoming, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Cf. OWNERSHIP-IN-PLACE THEORY.

[Blacks Law 8th]