Spacing orders set forth limitations for where a well may be located. These limitations vary with the size of the spaced unit. There are occasions when an operator needs a location variance because of surface or geological reasons. The Commission allows one to file an application for a location exception order to drill "off pattern" in those cases.
To obtain authority for a location exception an owner of the right to drill in the unit will need to file an application stating the requested location and will be required to notify an offset operator of a well producing from the zone or zones the off pattern well will be seeking to produce. If the party seeking the off pattern well is an operator of such an encroached well, that party must also notify all the working interest owners in the encroached well.
Additionally, there is a requirement for 15 days' publication notice in the county where the location exception is requested and in Oklahoma this type notice is to insure all parties who would be interested in the request would be reached. At the hearing the applicant will have to present evidence to support the request. This may include geological maps and testimony, or topographic maps, or agreements with surface owner requests. Additionally, applicant will have to address drainage issues and the basis for possible penalty.
If someone opposes the location exception request, the Commission will hear their testimony and evidence also. A report will issue based on the evidence and the Referee or the Commission en banc will consider the recommendation in the report and render a decision and an order will issue granting or denying the location exception. This can also be appealed to the Supreme Court. Drilling under this order is limited to one year. The order also may be limited to a named party with the right to drill or may be available for any party owning the right to drill those formations in that unit.
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