Forced pooling – the compulsory integration of mineral rights owners into a well – does not technically or legally apply to shale gas wells – and therefore should not be applied to them by the state.
Trying to apply compulsory pooling to shale gas wells can only mean one thing: the privatization of eminent domain by the state on behalf of the frackers – who have paid for the privilege via bribes to the legislature and regulators.
Forced pooling is intended to consolidate multiple vertical wells that drain a common pool of oil or gas into one shared well. This assumes that the pool is contained in rock that is porous and permeable enough (think an open cell sponge or foam) to allow the gas or oil to move towards the well bores that drain it. Forced pooling is intended to combine multiple vertical wells into one shared well that can drain the shared reservoir more cost-effectively than drilling multiple wells on smaller spacings. Forced pooling does not apply to shale gas horizontal laterals for the simple reason that shale gas is not a “pool” – a shale gas does not “drain” a porous, permeable reservoir of oil or gas, it tunnels thru impermeable rock. A shale gas lateral only taps the rock it can fracture – via the frack. Beyond the end of the lateral it does not “drain” any oil or gas. Therefore, horizontal shale gas laterals should not be illegally lengthened by forced pooling. As this video explains.
Moreover, the extension of horizontal laterals does not meet the legal requirement of forced pooling, as explained in this legal paper.
The frackers use compulsory pooling as a way to obtain more land on the cheap – no signing bonuses, just push the neighbors into the wells. Indeed, New York’s compulsory pooling law was written by Chesapeake’s lobbyist ! So in New York, a landowner has three choices: they can be forced into the well feet first, head first or sideways. There is no fourth choice.
Compulsory pooling – as applied to conventional vertical wells that drain a naturally porous pool of oil and gas – is beneficial. Using compulsory pooling to extend a shale gas lateral is a fracking scam.