Oklahoma Forced Pooling
Are you a mineral owner? Have you received a pooling order from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission? If so you are being forced pooled. Force pooling is the act of being forced by state law into participation in an oil or gas producing unit. Pooling is a technique used by oil and gas development companies to organize an oil or gas field.
When being force pooled you have a couple options. The pooling order will give you the choice to elect to: 1) Do nothing and become a Working Interest Owner. This means you will be charged your proportionate share of the well costs before ever receiving any monies from production. 2) Elect to take one of the fair market equivalents (typically a 1/8th royalty) along with the standard lease terms. At this point it is likely too late since you have already been force pooled, but you could attempt renegotiating lease terms with the oil company. Those terms may be more favorable than the options in the pooling order.
You are probably thinking how can this be? How can a company or the state force me into a drilling unit on my own land? This may feel like a breach of your rights but, under Oklahoma oil and gas conservation laws, fighting forced pooling is difficult. However, it is possible to keep your land from being force pooled. Every pooling order requires a hearing at which time you are given the chance to state your case. One defense may be that the operator does not have the necessary percentage of leased mineral owners within the proposed unit to force pool the remaining unleased mineral owners. Other defenses are case by case specific. Alternatively, you may want a well drilled but the terms offered are below your believed market value. May reasons exist to fight forced pooling on your land.