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Part 553: Well Spacing

(Statutory authority: Environmental Conservation Law, §§ 23-0301, 23-0305[8], 23-0501)

[Effective date: May 1, 1972]

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§553.1 Statewide spacing

(a) Except as provided in subdivisions (b) and (c) of this section and absent a department order establishing spacing units, a well drilled, deepened, plugged back, or converted for the production of oil and gas cannot be located less than 660 feet from any boundary line of the lease, integrated leases or unit and cannot be closer than 1,320 feet from any other oil and gas well in the same pool.

(b) Absent a department order establishing spacing units, a well which is on a lease, integrated leases, or unit having as one of its boundary lines the New York/Pennsylvania border may not be drilled, deepened, plugged back, or converted for the production of oil and gas within 330 feet of that border.

(c) Oil wells located in oil fields or pools that were discovered, developed, and operated before January 1, 1981, are not subject to the provisions of this section.

§553.2 Surface restrictions

No well shall be located nearer than 100 feet from any inhabited private dwelling house without written consent of the owner; nearer than 150 feet from any public building or area which may be used as a place of resort, assembly, education, entertainment, lodging, trade, manufacture, repair, storage, traffic or occupancy by the public; nearer than 75 feet to the traveled part of any State, county, township, or municipal road or any public street, road or highway; or nearer than 50 feet from any public stream, river or other body of water. This regulation, which is adopted in the interest of public safety, does not apply to a building or structure which is incident to agricultural use of the land on which it is located, unless such building is used as a private dwelling house or in the business of retail trade.

§553.3 Spacing units

(a) To promote effective development, use, or conservation of the natural resources of oil and gas, an order establishing well spacing may be promulgated by the department.

(b) Prior to promulgation of any spacing order, a public hearing on the matter will be conducted by the department acting either on its own motion or upon receipt of an application therefor from any interested owner or operator.

(c) Any application for a spacing order shall be made in writing and should include any information the applying owner or operator deems relevant to the following factors which the department will consider in deciding upon a spacing order:

(1) the lease and unit boundaries of the lands underlaid by the pool;

(2) the plan of well spacing currently being employed and that proposed for the pool;

(3) the depth at which production from said pool has been found;

(4) the nature and character of the stratum containing the pool and the fluids contained therein;

(5) an estimate of the maximum area which may be drained efficiently and economically by one well;

(6) any other available information pertaining to said pool which may be of probative value to the department in determining the proper spacing therefor, with due and relative allowance for protection of correlative rights and prevention of waste.

(d) The application shall be accompanied by a neat, legible plat drawn to scale which shows the area for which the spacing order is proposed. When known and relevant, the plat should include well locations and lease and unit boundaries.

(e) After promulgation, any spacing order for a pool will supersede for that pool the state-wide spacing provisions of section 553.1 of this Part.

§553.4 Exceptions

Where in its opinion there exists good and sufficient reason to permit an exception to the well spacing provisions of sections 553.1, 553.2 and 553.3, the department may permit reasonable well location exceptions which will protect correlative rights and prevent waste. Any application for such an exception shall be made in writing in triplicate as a separate attachment to the application for permit as outlined in section 552.1 and shall set forth in ample detail the reason or reasons for such exception request. Upon receipt of this exception request, the department shall promptly schedule a public hearing to facilitate a decision on the application. When a location exception is granted, the department may adjust the production from such well or take such other action as it may deem necessary for the protection of correlative rights or to prevent waste.