2016 Colorado Revised Statutes
Title 34 - Mineral Resources
Oil and Natural Gas
Article 60 - Oil and Gas Conservation
§ 34-60-116. Drilling units - pooling interests
(1) To prevent or to assist in preventing waste, to avoid the drilling of unnecessary wells, or to protect correlative rights, the commission, upon its own motion or on a proper application of an interested party, but after notice and hearing as provided in this section, has the power to establish drilling units of specified and approximately uniform size and shape covering any pool.
(2) In establishing a drilling unit, the acreage to be embraced within each unit and the shape thereof shall be determined by the commission from the evidence introduced at the hearing; except that, when found to be necessary for any of the purposes mentioned in subsection (1) of this section, the commission is authorized to divide any pool into zones and establish drilling units for each zone, which units may differ in size and shape from those established in any other zone, so that the pool as a whole will be efficiently and economically developed, but no drilling unit shall be smaller than the maximum area that can be efficiently and economically drained by one well. If the commission is unable to determine, based on the evidence introduced at the hearing, the existence of a pool and the appropriate acreage to be embraced within a drilling unit and the shape thereof, the commission is authorized to establish exploratory drilling units for the purpose of obtaining evidence as to the existence of a pool and the appropriate size and shape of the drilling unit to be applied thereto. In establishing the size and shape of the exploratory drilling unit, the commission may consider, but is not limited to, the size and shape of drilling units previously established by the commission for the same formation in other areas of the same geologic basin. Any spacing regulation made by the commission shall apply to each individual pool separately and not to all units on a statewide basis.
(3) The order establishing drilling units shall permit only one well to be drilled and produced from the common source of supply on a drilling unit, and shall specify the location of the permitted well thereon, with such exception for the location of the permitted well as may be reasonably necessary for wells already drilled or where it is shown upon application, notice, and hearing, and the commission finds, that the drilling unit is located partly outside the pool or field and adjacent to a producing unit, or, for some other reason, the requirement to drill the well at the authorized location on the unit would be inequitable or unreasonable. The commission shall take such action as will offset any advantage which the person securing the exception may have over other producers by reason of the drilling of the well as an exception, and include in the order suitable provisions to prevent the production from the drilling unit of more than its just and equitable share of the oil and gas in the pool.
(4) The commission, upon application, notice, and hearing, may decrease or increase the size of the drilling units or permit additional wells to be drilled within the established units in order to prevent or assist in preventing waste or to avoid the drilling of unnecessary wells, or to protect correlative rights, and the commission may enlarge the area covered by the order fixing drilling units, if the commission determines that the common source of supply underlies an area not covered by the order.
(5) After an order fixing drilling units has been entered by the commission, the commencement of drilling of any well into any common source of supply for the purpose of producing oil or gas therefrom, at a location other than authorized by the order, is prohibited. The operation of any well drilled in violation of an order fixing drilling units is prohibited.
(6) When two or more separately owned tracts are embraced within a drilling unit, or when there are separately owned interests in all or a part of the drilling unit, then persons owning such interests may pool their interests for the development and operation of the drilling unit. In the absence of voluntary pooling, the commission, upon the application of any interested person, may enter an order pooling all interests in the drilling unit for the development and operation thereof. Each such pooling order shall be made after notice and hearing and shall be upon terms and conditions that are just and reasonable, and that afford to the owner of each tract or interest in the drilling unit the opportunity to recover or receive, without unnecessary expense, his just and equitable share. Operations incident to the drilling of a well upon any portion of a unit covered by a pooling order shall be deemed for all purposes to be the conduct of such operations upon each separately owned tract in the unit by the several owners thereof. That portion of the production allocated or applicable to each tract included in a unit covered by a pooling order shall, when produced, be deemed for all purposes to have been produced from such tract by a well drilled thereon.
(7) (a) Each such pooling order shall make provision for the drilling of a well on the drilling unit, if not already drilled, for the operation thereof, and for the payment of the reasonable actual cost thereof, including a reasonable charge for supervision and storage. Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this subsection (7), as to each nonconsenting owner who refuses to agree to bear his proportionate share of the costs and risks of drilling and operating the well, the order shall provide for reimbursement to the consenting owners who pay for the drilling and operation of the well of the nonconsenting owner's share of the costs and risks of such drilling and operating out of, and only out of, production from the unit representing his interest, excluding royalty or other interest not obligated to pay any part of the cost thereof. In the event of any dispute as to such costs, the commission shall determine the proper costs as specified in paragraph (b) of this subsection (7). The order shall determine the interest of each owner in the unit and shall provide that each consenting owner is entitled to receive, subject to royalty or similar obligations, the share of the production of the well applicable to his interest in the drilling unit and, unless he has agreed otherwise, his proportionate part of the nonconsenting owner's share of such production until costs are recovered and that each nonconsenting owner is entitled to own and to receive the share of the production applicable to his interest in the unit after the consenting owners have recovered the nonconsenting owner's share out of production.
(b) Upon the determination of the commission, proper costs recovered by the consenting owners of a drilling unit from the nonconsenting owner's share of production from such a unit shall be as follows:
(I) One hundred percent of the nonconsenting owner's share of the cost of surface equipment beyond the wellhead connections (including, but not limited to, stock tanks, separators, treaters, pumping equipment, and piping) plus one hundred percent of the nonconsenting owner's share of the cost of operation of the well commencing with first production and continuing until the consenting owners have recovered such costs. It is the intent that the nonconsenting owner's share of these costs of equipment and operation will be that interest which would have been chargeable to the nonconsenting owner had he initially agreed to pay his share of the costs of the well from the beginning of the operation.
(II) Two hundred percent of that portion of the costs and expenses of staking, well site preparation, obtaining rights-of-way, rigging up, drilling, reworking, deepening or plugging back, testing, and completing the well, after deducting any cash contributions received by the consenting owners, and two hundred percent of that portion of the cost of equipment in the well, including the wellhead connections.
(c) A nonconsenting owner of a tract in a drilling unit which is not subject to any lease or other contract for the development thereof for oil and gas shall be deemed to have a landowner's proportionate royalty of twelve and one-half percent until such time as the consenting owners recover, only out of the nonconsenting owner's proportionate seven-eighths share of production, the costs specified in paragraph (b) of this subsection (7). After recovery of such costs, the nonconsenting owner shall then own his proportionate eight-eighths share of the well, surface facilities, and production and then be liable for further costs as if he had originally agreed to drilling of the well.
(d) No order pooling an unleased nonconsenting mineral owner shall be entered by the commission under the provisions of subsection (6) of this section over protest of such owner until the commission shall have received evidence that such unleased mineral owner shall have been tendered a reasonable offer to lease upon terms no less favorable than those currently prevailing in the area at the time application for such order is made and that such unleased mineral owner shall have been furnished in writing such owner's share of the estimated drilling and completion cost of the well, the location and objective depth of the well, and the estimated spud date for the well or range of time within which spudding is to occur. During the period of cost recovery provided in this subsection (7), the commission shall retain jurisdiction to determine the reasonableness of costs of operation of the well attributable to the interest of such nonconsenting owner.
(8) The operator of a well under a pooling order in which there is a nonconsenting owner shall furnish the nonconsenting owner with a monthly statement of all costs incurred, together with the quantity of oil or gas produced, and the amount of proceeds realized from the sale of production during the preceding month. If the consenting owners recover the costs specified in subsection (7) of this section, the nonconsenting owner shall own the same interest in the well and the production therefrom, and be liable for the further costs of the operation, as if he had participated in the initial drilling operation.
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