SB694 HFAT Fluharty 3-8

Altizer - 3259

A Bill to amend and reenact 22C-9-1, 22C-9-2, 22C-9-3, 22C-9-4, and 22C-9-5 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated 22C-9-7a, all relating to forced pooling of oil and gas interests; expanding the membership of the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission; expanding the jurisdiction of the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission; expanding duties of the commission to include unitization of shallow and deep horizontal wells; amending and providing further declarations of public policy and legislative findings; defining terms; providing for conditions of applicability of the statute; establishing a horizontal well unit application process; requiring certain conditions be met prior to filing and approval of an application including defining percentages of interests of landowners and operators to establish unit control; requiring good faith negotiations by operators; providing for hearings on applications; setting out factors to be considered in the hearing and documents to be filed before a hearing; providing for notice and publication at various stages of the process; defining interested parties and their involvement in the hearing processes; providing for standards of review and factors to be considered by the commission; providing for maximum unit sizes with limited exceptions; providing for an independent third party review of certain information and reporting of the same to the commission; providing for confidentiality of certain information; setting forth time frames and time limits; providing for a horizontal well unit orders and required contents of the orders; defining order terms; providing limitations on surface usage above non-consenting mineral owners; providing for payment terms for leased mineral interest owners without unitization clauses; providing for payment term options for non-leased mineral interest owners; providing payment term options for nonconsenting operators; allowing for modifications of the horizontal well unit order under specified conditions; providing for compensation for unknown and unlocatable mineral interest owners and defining the same; establishing a process using the courts for surface owners to acquire the mineral interests and funds held by the operator of unknown or unlocatable interest owners after a specified time period, notices, and court proceedings; providing applicability of the existing and new statutory sections for deep wells based on the effective date; providing a severability clause; and establishing and modifying rulemaking authority.