After five months of lobbying the state, the Department of Natural Resources/Office of Conservation has placed operators on notice that they are in violation of a regulation requiring that a unit survey be submitted to the OOC no later than 90 days after a unit begins production. The unit surveys are meant to be a public record so that mineral lessors, unleased mineral owners and the state can confirm that their interests have been accurately surveyed and used to create an accurate Division Order that will be used to properly pay royalty interests and unleased mineral interests.
As many of you will note, the vast majority of Haynesville Shale drilling & production units are not marginally past due, they are years past due. In the process of lobbying the OOC to address this problem, I researched all surveys entered in the database by field. I compared the producing wells in each field with the surveys in the database for that field. By my count, at the time I performed the research, there were approximately 850 delinquent unit surveys.
I am copying the notice sent to operators requiring them to supply their missing surveys by January 20, 2018. As expected, by myself and the OOC staff, only a few surveys were submitted by that date. The operators noticed have been in touch with the OOC to provide timelines for submitting their missing surveys. The OOC will, as always, be accommodating up to a point with operators not in compliance. I have intentionally waited to post this discussion to provide some breathing room for the OOC staff as this is not a small undertaking. I believe that I have waited long enough and I now post this information for the benefit of the members. I would like to thank my attorneys, Randy Davidson and Davis Powell, for joining me in submitting letters to the DNR/OOC to point out that the missing surveys were not only a violation of state regulations but an impediment to owners of mineral rights in attempting to confirm that they were being paid properly. I am redacting the identities of the sender and receiver of this particular notice copy as I think that is the correct and respectful means to include the notice in this discussion. I am not redacting the phone number and email address as I think that mineral owners should speak up for their rights. I encourage members who are missing surveys to contact the OOC and make a specific request for access to the state approved survey of their drilling unit.
Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2017 8:54 AM
To: ________________Cc: ________________
Subject: Delinquent Haynesville Shale Unit Survey Plats
Based on Office of Conservation records, it has been determined that numerous Haynesville Shale unit survey plats in various fields have not been submitted in accordance with the requirements of LAC 43:XIX.43.4103.F.2. The regulation requires each producing unit be surveyed and the survey plat be submitted to this Office within ninety (90) days from the date production commences. Please refer to LAC 43:XIX.43.4103 for more information.
Please provide a list of your company’s delinquent (more than 90 days since production commenced) Haynesville Shale unit survey plats by field in the attached Excel spreadsheet no later than January 20, 2018. Failure to comply with this request may result in the issuance of a compliance order and other regulatory sanctions as deemed necessary. If additional time will be required, please submit such request prior to the date specified above.
If you have already submitted a survey plat, or if you have any questions, please contact the Inspection and Enforcement section of the Office of Conservation at (225) 342-5540 or E&I@la.gov referencing this notice.
Inspection and Enforcement
How to search for your unit survey. Links you will need, Data Access http://sonris.com/dataaccess.asp
and Document Access http://ucmwww.dnr.state.la.us/ucmsearch/Doctypes.aspx
What you will need: The unit designation for your well(s) is the first portion of the well name. For example if your wells is, HA RA SUA;S Ridge 22-15-15H, then your unit is HA RA SUA. Since there is a HA RA SUA in every field with Haynesville Shale production, you must also know the field name and 4 digit code number. In this case the field is Caspiana and the field code is 2360 and can be found in the first line of the SONRIS Data Access Well File, use the link above.
Next go to the Document Access portion of the database, scroll down the search options in the list to: Survey Plats. Click on that search and then enter the 4 digit field code. This will get you a list of all survey plats for the Caspiana Field. If your unit, HA RA SUA, is included click on the red box and make yourself a copy. If not, your unit does not have a survey on file and is delinquent.
What is important about having a copy of your unit survey? The unit survey allows you to check to see if you agree with the size in acres that the operator has calculated for your tract or tracts. The survey also provides the number of acres in the unit. Few units are exactly 640 acres and the exact size is important to calculating your decimal interest.
The decimal interest listed on your monthly royalty statement should be the number of acres that you own, down to the fraction, divided by the exact number of acres in the unit, multiplied by your royalty fraction. Since the unit acres are the same for all mineral interests force pooled in the unit and your royalty fraction is stated in your lease agreement, the only variable that is in doubt is the size of your tract or tracts. You should be aware of the fact that it is common that the documents evidencing the sale of land or the passing down of the land through heirship simply use the legal description copied from prior conveyance documents. It is quite possible that there are errors in those prior documents that have been maintained down through the succession of ownership especially if the description originates in an old document. Therefore small discrepancies in the number of acres are common. If the discrepancy is significant, that is a red flag. The question then becomes, did the unit operator perform a proper (accurate) survey or is the discrepancy associated with an inaccurate legal description? A significant difference can entail quite large sums of money.
As I mentioned last week, our Well started producing in 2012 but the Gas Co. did not complete and submit the Unit Survey to thke LDNR until 2016.
Thank you, Skip. My family truly appreciates all of the time that you've invested to help us landowners understand these types of issues. The members of GHS are so darn lucky to have such an informed and knowledgable advocate.
You're welcome, Jesse. I hope that members missing their unit survey will take this opportunity to contact the Office of Conservation.
Skip as a mineral owner who has had 6+ unit surveys updated by both CHK & Exco since late 2016, TY much for providing us w/ this template & the detailed info. on how to verify these updated survey #'s for ourselves.
Another IOU into the Peel account from myself, muchas gracias mi amigo.
Hi, Skip - I did not find a survey for HA RA SU65 in 9803 Woodardville. Am I correct in there not being one? If not, will contact OOC!
James, I checked. The survey for HA RA SU65 is listed on line 21, the first page. Check again to see if you can make a copy.
Thanks Skip, but I am unable to get past where I enter the field code - It blinks and enters Woodardville but nothing else.
When the dropdown shows up, select it (click) - the field code will remain in the field box. Make sure to go down and click the search button. Hitting enter will not work.
Thanks, Dion. Did that work for you, James?
Thank y'all but it still did not work.
It's supposed to blink and enter Woodardville. That's not your problem. Just follow Dion's directions. It that doesn't work than you have a computer problem. It's not a database problem.
I find this to be true. I am missing 17900 TUSC RA SUL;DORTHY BROWN survey plat in field 6870 and contacted the DNR and requested it years ago. They never found it. The 2 people I spoke with seemed rather nervous dealing with my inquiry and said they would mail me a copy. This did not happen. Should I contact the Inspection and Enforcement section of the Office of Conservation at (225) 342-5540 or E&I@la.gov about this?