Forced Pooling of Leased Rights in North Dakota

We have leased the rights to our 160 acreas in ND to Hess for many years. They drilled. A well is producing. In 2006 Headington Oil Limited Partnership petitioned ND to create a 1280 acre unit which includes our property. Now XTO is forcing us to join the pool for the 1280 acres. Our property is the only producing well in this area.

We do not want to pool but hold to our lease. Can we do that?

Justin, it might be several different things going on, but here is what I suspect you may be looking at...

1. Hess drilled a producing well in the Madison (or other) formation.

2. XTO filed in 2006 for a 1,280 acre pool for the Bakken (or other) formation.

If that is correct, then your share of production in the existing well should not be diluted by the pooling order since they involve different formations. However, that is not the case if the pooling involved the same producing formation. Then your 160 would be divided into the 1,280 pool.

So if you don't already know, find out what formation Hess has been producing, then find out exactly what formation (or formations) was including in the pooling order. The pooling may also impact you regarding your minerals being held by production (which is another question altogether).

A mineral owner can object to being pooled. However, that needs to be done when the NDIC is considering the request. In your case that was back in 2006. At this point I don't think there is anything which can be done. I hope this is helpful and it all works out for you.

Thanks for the good comment. You are probably right. Our quarter section is in the pool. They pooled sections 4 & 9 in Town 155, Range 96. We are in section 4. However, ours is the only active well in the 1280 acres. In 2006 we were alerted, but at that time there was no intention of drilling. We have leased these rights to Hess (and others) for nearly 50 years.