Journalism in the Public Interest

State Laws Can Compel Landowners to Accept Gas and Oil Drilling

A legal tool called forced pooling allows drilling companies to gain access to minerals beneath private property, even if the landowners object. Thirty-eight states have some form of forced pooling law. The specific provisions vary from state to state, but drillers can generally extract minerals from a large area or "pool" -- in most states a minimum of 640 acres -- if leases have been negotiated for a certain percentage of that land. The company can then harvest gas or oil from the entire area. In most cases, drillers aren't allowed to build wells on the unleased land, so they use horizontal wells or other means to collect the minerals beneath those parcels. Related Story: Forced Pooling: When Landowners Can’t Say No to Drilling

State Type of Regulation(s) The Law Section Number Supervising Agency
Alabama 1) Forced pooling
2) Compulsory unitization 400-7 Alabama State Oil and Gas Board
Alaska Involuntary unitization 31.05.110 Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
Arizona Compulsory unitization 27-506 Arizona Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
Arkansas Compulsory integration 15-72-303 Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission
California Compulsory unitization 3320.2 California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources
Colorado Involuntary pooling 34-60-116 Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
Connecticut NA NA NA Connecticut Dept. of Consumer Protection
Delaware Forced pooling 7-7000-7503 Delaware Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Florida Forced pooling 377.28 Florida Oil and Gas Program
Georgia Compulsory unitization 12.4.45 Georgia Environmental Protection Division
Hawaii NA NA NA Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources
Idaho NA NA NA Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
Illinois 1) Integration pooling
2) Compulsory unitization 240.131 Illinois Division of Oil and Gas
Indiana Integration and forced pooling 14-37-9 Indiana Division of Oil and Gas
Iowa Compulsory unitization 458A.8 Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources
Kansas Compulsory unitization 55-703 Kansas Corporation Commission
Kentucky Involuntary pooling 353.64 Kentucky Division of Oil and Gas
Louisiana Compulsory unitization 30.9 Louisiana Office of Mineral Resources
Maine NA NA NA Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection
Maryland NA NA NA Maryland Bureau of Mines
Massachusetts NA NA NA Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Michigan Compulsory pooling 324.304 Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources and Environment
Minnesota Compulsory unitization 93.515 Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources
Mississippi Compulsory unitization 53-3-7 Mississippi Oil and Gas Board
Missouri 1) Involuntary pooling
2) Statutory unitization
259.110 50-5.010 Missouri Oil and Gas Council
Montana 1) Involuntary pooling
2) Compulsory unitization 82-11-202 Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation
Nebraska Involuntary pooling 57-909 Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
Nevada Compulsory unitization 522.0824 Nevada Division of Minerals
New Hampshire NA NA NA New Hampshire Dept. of Environmental Services
New Jersey NA NA NA New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection
New Mexico 1) Forced pooling
2) Statutory unitization New Mexico Oil Conservation Division
New York Compulsory integration and unitization 23-0901 New York Division of Mineral Resources
North Carolina NA NA NA North Carolina Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources
North Dakota Integration of fractional tracts 38-08-08 North Dakota Oil and Gas Division
Ohio Mandatory pooling 1509.27 Ohio Oil and Gas Commission
Oklahoma 1) Compulsory unitization
2) Forced pooling 287.4 Oklahoma Corporation Commission Oil and Gas Division
Oregon Compulsory integration 632-010-0161 Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries
Pennsylvania Compulsory integration 79.33 Pennsylvania Bureau of Oil and Gas Management
Rhode Island NA NA NA Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
South Carolina Compulsory integration 48-43-340 South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
South Dakota 1) Compulsory pooling
2) Compulsory unitization 45-9 South Dakota Oil and Gas Section
Tennessee Forced integration 1040-5-1-.01 Tennessee Oil and Gas Board
Texas Forced pooling 102.017 Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Utah 1) Involuntary pooling
2) Compulsory unitization 40-6-6.5 Utah Dvision of Oil, Gas and Mining
Vermont Forced pooling 14-29-523 Vermont Natural Gas and Oil Resources Board
Virginia Compulsory pooling 45.1-361.21 Virginia Division of Gas and Oil
Washington Compulsory unitization 78.52.250 Washington State Department of Natural Resources
West Virginia Mandatory pooling 22C-9-7 West Virginia Office of Oil and Gas
Wisconsin NA NA NA Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Wyoming Compulsory pooling 30-5-109 Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission