MINES AND MINING
OIL AND GAS WELLS — GEOLOGIC INFORMATION, AND PREVENTION OF WASTE
47-317. spacing units. (1) To prevent or assist in preventing the waste of oil and gas, to avoid drilling unnecessary wells or to protect correlative rights, the department may, on its own motion or on the application of an interested person, and after notice and opportunity for hearing, issue an order establishing spacing units on a statewide basis, or for defined areas within the state, or for oil and gas wells drilled to varying depths.
(2) An order establishing spacing units shall specify the location, size, and shape of the unit, which, in the opinion of the department, shall result in the efficient and economical development of the pool as a whole. These units established by the department shall be geographic. The geographic boundary of the unit shall be described in accordance with the public land survey system. The department shall issue an order establishing a spacing unit or units to determine the area that can be efficiently and economically drained by one (1) well for the orderly development of the pool. The department may amend the order if evidence determines that additional wells are needed to efficiently and economically drain the pool or if evidence indicates the location of the pool is different from that in the initial order. Such amendment is subject to notice and an opportunity for hearing as provided in section 47-328, Idaho Code.
(3) In the absence of an order by the department establishing spacing units, or authorizing different well density patterns for particular pools or parts thereof, the following requirements shall apply:
(a) Oil wells. Every well drilled for oil shall be located in a spacing unit consisting of a forty (40) acre governmental quarter-quarter section or lot or tract, or combination of lots and tracts substantially equivalent thereto.
(i) An oil well located on a forty (40) acre spacing unit shall have a minimum setback of three hundred thirty (330) feet from the completed interval of the wellbore to the closest exterior geographic boundary of the unit.
(ii) No oil well shall be drilled less than nine hundred ninety (990) feet from any other well drilling to and capable of producing oil from the same pool.
(b) Directional and vertical gas wells. Every directional well and vertical well drilled for gas shall be located in a spacing unit consisting of a six hundred forty (640) acre governmental section or lot or tract, or combination of lots and tracts substantially equivalent thereto. A directional or vertical gas well located on a six hundred forty (640) acre spacing unit shall have a minimum setback of six hundred sixty (660) feet from the completed interval of the wellbore to the closest exterior boundaries of the governmental section.
(i) No gas well shall be drilled with the closest point of its completed interval less than nine hundred ninety (990) feet from the closest point of the completion interval of any other well drilling to and capable of producing gas from the same pool; and
(ii) No gas well shall be completed in a known pool unless the closest point of the completion interval is located more than nine hundred ninety (990) feet from the closest point of the completion interval of any other well completed in and capable of producing gas from the same pool.
(c) Horizontal wells. Every horizontal well drilled shall be located in a spacing unit consisting of a six hundred forty (640) acre governmental section or lot or tract, or combination of lots and tracts substantially equivalent thereto. No portion of the completed interval of a horizontal lateral shall be closer than six hundred sixty (660) feet to a vertical plane intersecting with the closest point of a unit boundary or uncommitted tract within a unit. Except for wells in federal exploratory units or in secondary units, the completed interval shall be no closer than one thousand three hundred twenty (1,320) feet to any horizontal well or vertical well completed in the same formation.
(4) An operator may request an amendment in the size, shape or location of a spacing unit under this section. Request may be made for spacing units that are:
(a) Larger or smaller than forty (40) acres for oil;
(b) Larger or smaller than six hundred forty (640) acres for gas; or
(c) Not located within the boundaries of a governmental section, quarter section or quarter-quarter section.
(5) An amendment to spacing units may be authorized upon application, notice and an opportunity for hearing as provided in section 47-328, Idaho Code. To authorize an amendment, the department shall find that such amendment would assist in preventing the waste of oil and gas, avoid drilling of unnecessary wells, or protect correlative rights. In addition to any other notice required by statute or rule, an operator shall provide proper notice and a copy of the application to all uncommitted owners within the proposed unit and to all other parties an operator reasonably believes may be affected. In amending spacing units under this section, the department shall review the spacing unit’s size, shape and location based on the application, any supporting exhibits, and evidence introduced at a hearing.
(6) The department may amend an order that establishes spacing units for a pool to provide for:
(a) An exception to the authorized location of a well;
(b) The inclusion or exclusion of additional areas that overlay the pool as determined by the commission;
(c) The increase or decrease of the size of spacing units; or
(d) The drilling of additional wells within spacing units. A pool may be divided into zones, and a spacing unit for each zone may be established if necessary. The spacing unit within the zone may not be smaller than the maximum area that can be efficiently and economically drained by one (1) or more wells.
(7) Upon the filing of an application to establish a spacing unit, no additional well shall be commenced for production from the pool until the order establishing a spacing unit has been made, unless the commencement of the well is authorized by order of the department.
(8) The department may establish a spacing unit and concurrently authorize the drilling of more than one (1) well in a spacing unit if the department finds that:
(a) Engineering or geologic characteristics justify the drilling of more than one (1) well in that spacing unit; and
(b) The drilling of more than one (1) well in that spacing unit will not result in waste.
[47-317, added 2017, ch. 271, sec. 10, p. 687; am. 2023, ch. 283, sec. 5, p. 852.]