2009 California Public Resources Code - Section 3600-3609 :: Chapter 3. Spacing Of Wells And Community Leases
3600. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, any well hereafter drilled for oil or gas, or hereafter drilled and permitted to produce oil or gas, which is located within 100 feet of an outer boundary of the parcel of land on which the well is situated, or within 100 feet of a public street or road or highway dedicated prior to the commencement of drilling of the well, or within 150 feet of either a well being drilled or a well theretofore drilled which is producing oil or gas or a well which has been drilled and is not producing but which is capable of producing oil or gas, is a public nuisance. 3601. Where several contiguous parcels of land in one or different ownerships are operated as a single oil or gas lease or operating unit, the term "outer boundary line" means the outer boundary line of the lands included in the lease or unit. In determining the contiguity of any such parcels of land, no street, road or alley lying within the lease or unit shall be deemed to interrupt such contiguity. 3602. Where a parcel of land contains one acre or more, but is less than 250 feet in width, there may be drilled on the parcel of land not more than one well to each acre of the area if the surface location of any well or wells is so placed as to be as far from the lateral boundary lines of the parcel of land as the configuration of the surface and the existing improvements thereon will permit. 3602.1. Where a parcel of land contains one acre or more and the hydrocarbons to be developed are too heavy or viscous to produce by normal means, and the supervisor so determines, the supervisor may approve proposals to drill wells at whatever locations he deems advisable for the purpose of the proper development of such hydrocarbons by the application of pressure, heat or other means for the reduction of oil viscosity, and such wells shall not be classed as public nuisances after approval by the supervisor. 3602.2. In determining the area of parcels of land for the purposes of this chapter, the area of the oil and gas mineral estate shall be used exclusively. 3603. For the purposes of this chapter, an alley which intersects or lies within any block or other subdivision unit is not a public street or road. 3604. Each day in which the drilling of any well is carried on, or on which it is permitted to produce oil or gas in violation of this chapter is a separate nuisance. 3605. The provisions of this chapter do not apply to any field producing oil or gas on August 14, 1931. 3606. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, where a parcel of land contains one acre or more and where all or substantially all of the surface of such parcel of land is unavailable for the surface location of oil or gas wells, there may be drilled or produced not more than one well into each acre of such parcel of land, and the surface location of such well may be located upon property which may or may not contain one acre or more of surface area, and the property upon the surface of which the surface location of such well may be located may or may not be contiguous to such parcel of land; provided: 1. No operator shall construct or maintain any derrick within 150 feet of any other derrick, then standing, of such operator unless approved in advance by the supervisor who may, in granting such approval, attach such conditions as are reasonably necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter. 2. The surface location of such well, as measured from the center of the hole, shall be not less than 25 feet from an outer boundary of the surface of the property upon which such well is located, and shall be not less than 25 feet from any dedicated public street, road or highway which is so dedicated and in such public use at the time of the commencement of drilling of such well. 3. The producing interval of such well shall be not less than 75 feet from an outer boundary of the parcel of land into which such producing interval is drilled, and the producing interval of such well shall be not less than 150 feet, as measured horizontally in the same zone, from the producing interval of any other well which is producing or capable of producing oil or gas. If the parcel of land qualified to be drilled under this section is less than 150 feet in width, the producing interval of such well shall be as far from the lateral boundary lines of the property as is practicable. To enforce the provisions of this section, the supervisor may require, at the time supervisor gives approval of notice of intention to drill, redrill or deepen, that a subsurface directional survey be made for such well, and that a plat of said directional survey be filed with the supervisor within fifteen (15) days of completion. 3606.1. The 150-foot restriction in Sections 3600 and elsewhere in this chapter shall apply only to wells drilled and producing from the same zone or pool; provided, however, that the well density shall not exceed one well per acre unless the supervisor shall determine that more than one zone or pool underlies the property and that it is not practical to produce from all of such zones or pools from a single well per acre and that such other zones or pools are being drained by offset wells. In such cases only, a maximum density of two wells per acre may be approved. These exceptions to the general spacing rule shall apply also to properties qualifying under Sections 3602 and 3606. 3607. The prohibition set forth in Section 3600 against drilling within 100 feet of any public street or highway shall not apply in the case of any street or highway which is opened through a field in which drilling was commenced prior to the opening of the street or highway. 3608. Where land aggregating less than one acre is surrounded by other lands, which other lands are subject to an oil and gas lease aggregating one acre or more, and if, under the provisions of Sections 3600 to 3607, inclusive, of the Public Resources Code, the drilling or producing of a well on said land is declared to be a public nuisance, said land shall, for oil and gas development purposes and to prevent waste and to protect the oil and gas rights of landowners, be deemed included in said oil and gas lease on said other lands, and shall be subject to all the terms and provisions thereof, when the State Oil and Gas Supervisor has caused to be recorded with the county recorder of the county in which said land aggregating less than one acre is located a declaration as hereinafter provided. A request for inclusion of surrounded land aggregating less than one acre may be filed with the supervisor at any time by either the lessee of such other lands or by the owner or lessee of such surrounded land or the supervisor may act upon his own motion. Before filing such request the lessee of such other lands shall make a reasonable effort to include each parcel of surrounded land, within the oil and gas lease upon such other lands. There shall be attached to such request a statement which shall set forth the name or names of the record owner or record owners of said land aggregating less than one acre which is to be included in said oil and gas lease on said other lands, the legal description of said land aggregating less than one acre, name of the lessee of the oil and gas lease in which such land is to be included, and a reference to the book and page of the official records of the county recorder where such oil and gas lease is recorded or a reference to the document number and date of recordation of such oil and gas lease. Within 20 days following receipt of such request and attached statement, the supervisor shall cause to be recorded with the county recorder of the county in which said land aggregating less than one acre is located, a declaration, signed by him or his assistant or deputy, that said land is deemed by the provisions of this section to be included in said oil and gas lease on said other lands. Such declaration shall set forth the same information required to be set forth in the statement attached to the request, and a copy thereof shall be mailed or otherwise delivered by the supervisor to the lessee. The county recorder shall accept such declaration for recordation and shall index such declaration in the names of all persons or corporations mentioned therein. From the time of recording thereof in the office of the county recorder such notice shall impart constructive notice of the contents thereof to all persons dealing with the land therein described. The owners of the oil and gas mineral rights in said land so deemed included in said oil and gas lease on said other lands, as herein provided, shall thereafter receive in money, based upon the production of oil and gas from the leasehold including said land or lands unitized or pooled therewith, a pro rata share of the landowners' royalty determined in accordance with the provisions of said oil and gas lease in the proportion that the area of said land bears to the aggregate of the total area covered by said oil and gas lease including the area of said land or as otherwise provided in said lease; provided further, that said owners of said oil and gas mineral rights in said land shall in no case receive less than their pro rata share determined, as herein provided, of the value of one-eighth part of the oil and gas produced, saved and sold from or allocated to the operating unit comprising said leasehold on said other lands and said land, computed in accordance with the provisions of said oil and gas lease with respect to the computation of landowners' royalty; provided further that upon recordation of the statement by the supervisor, the owners of such oil and gas mineral rights in such land shall also receive a pro rata share of any other benefits thereafter accruing to the owners of the oil and gas mineral rights under the terms of the oil and gas lease on such other lands; and provided further, that without the consent of said owners of said land the lessee or operator of said oil and gas leasehold shall have no right to use the surface of said land nor to use the subsurface thereof down to a depth of 200 feet below the surface thereof. Where said land aggregating less than one acre is surrounded by lands which are not subject to a single oil and gas lease but is surrounded by lands which are subject to two or more separate oil and gas leases, one or more of which oil or gas leases aggregates one acre or more, then in such event the said land aggregating less than one acre shall, as herein provided, be included within and be joined to that oil and gas lease aggregating one acre or more as to which said parcel of land aggregating less than one acre has the longest common boundary. If there is no longest common boundary, the request shall designate the lease, aggregating one acre or more, into which the parcel aggregating less than one acre shall be included by the declaration of the supervisor; otherwise the supervisor shall make such designation. In determining the contiguity of any parcels of land for the purposes hereof, no road, street or alley shall be deemed to interrupt such contiguity. 3608.1. The owner or operator of any leasehold, into which land has been included under the provisions of Section 3608, shall cause to be recorded an appropriate quitclaim to such land in the proper county recorder's office when such leasehold has been terminated. 3609. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, if the supervisor determines, pursuant to rules and regulations and after a public hearing, that the development of a pool discovered after the effective date of this section for the production of oil and gas, or either, requires the adoption of a well-spacing pattern other than that specified in Sections 3600 to 3608.1, inclusive, in order to prevent waste and to increase the ultimate economic recovery of oil or gas, he may adopt a well-spacing plan to apply to the surface and subsurface of a designated pool. Such plan shall be applicable to all wells thereafter drilled or redrilled into such pool. Such plan may include a requirement that, as a prerequisite to approval to drill or redrill a well, all or certain specified parcels of land shall be included in a pooling or unit agreement. The supervisor may provide in the rules and regulations for mandatory pooling agreements in connection with the well-spacing order.
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