- Alaska Statutes.
- Title 31. Oil and Gas
- Chapter 5. Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Act
- Section 110. Unitization and Unitized Operation of Pools and Integration of Interests By Agreement.
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AS 31.05.110. Unitization and Unitized Operation of Pools and Integration of Interests By Agreement.
- (a) To prevent, or to assist in preventing waste, to insure a greater ultimate recovery of oil and gas, and to protect the
correlative rights of persons owning interests in the tracts of land affected, these persons may validly integrate
their interests to provide for the unitized management, development, and operation of such tracts of land as a unit.
Where, however, they have not agreed to integrate their interests, the commission, upon proper petition, after notice
and hearing, has jurisdiction, power and authority, and it is its duty to make and enforce orders and do the things
necessary or proper to carry out the purposes of this section.
- (b) If upon the filing of a petition by or with the commission and after notice and hearing, all in the form and manner
and in accordance with the procedure and requirements provided in this section, the commission finds that (1) the
unitized management, operation and further development of a pool or portion of a pool is reasonably necessary in order
to effectively carry on pressure control, pressure-maintenance or repressuring operations, cycling operations, water
flooding operations, or any combination of these, or any other form of joint effort calculated to substantially
increase the ultimate recovery of oil and gas from the pool; (2) one or more of the unitized methods of operation as
applied to the pool or portion of it is feasible, and will prevent waste and will with reasonable probability result in
the increased recovery of substantially more oil and gas from the pool than would otherwise be recovered; (3) the
estimated additional cost, if any, of conducting such operations will not exceed the value of the additional oil and
gas so recovered; and (4) the unitization and adoption of one or more of the unitized methods of operation is for the
common good, it shall make a finding to that effect and make an order creating the unit and providing for the
unitization and unitized operation of the pool or portion of it described in the order, upon the terms and conditions,
as may be shown by the evidence to be fair, reasonable, equitable, and which are necessary or proper to protect,
safeguard and adjust the respective rights and obligations of the several persons affected, including royalty owner,
owners of overriding royalties, oil and gas payments, carried interests, mortgages, lien claimants and others, as well
as the lessees. The petition shall set out a description of the proposed unit area with a map or plat of it attached,
shall allege the existence of the facts required to be found by the commission as provided in this subsection and shall
have attached to it a recommended plan of unitization applicable to the proposed unit area and which the petitioner
considers to be fair, reasonable and equitable.
- (c) The order of the commission shall define the boundary of the area to be included within the unit area and prescribe
with reasonable detail the plan of unitization applicable to it. Each unit and unit area may be limited to all or a
portion of a single pool. Only so much of a pool or pools as has been defined and determined to be productive on the
basis of information available to the commission may be so included within the unit area. A unit may be created to
embrace less than the whole of a pool only where it is shown by the evidence that the area to be so included within the
unit area is of a size and shape as may be reasonably required for the successful and efficient conduct of the unitized
method of operation for which the unit is created, and that the conduct of it will have no material adverse effect upon
the remainder of the pool. The plan of unitization for each unit and unit area shall be one suited to the needs and
requirements of the particular unit dependent upon the facts and conditions found to exist with respect to it. In
addition to other terms, provisions, conditions and requirements found by the commission to be reasonably necessary or
proper to carry out the purpose of this chapter, and subject to the further requirements of this section, each plan of
unitization shall contain fair, reasonable and equitable provisions for
- (1) the efficient unitized management or control of the further development and operation of the unit area for the
recovery of oil and gas from the pool affected; under such a plan the actual operations within the unit area may be
carried on in whole or in part by the unit itself, or by one or more of the lessees within the unit area as the unit
operator subject to the supervision and direction of the unit, dependent upon what is most beneficial or expedient; the
designation of the unit operator shall be by vote of the lessees in the unit in a manner provided in the plan of
unitization and not by the commission;
- (2) the division of interest or formula for the apportionment and allocation of the unit production, among and to the
several separately owned tracts within the unit area such as will reasonably permit persons otherwise entitled to share
in or benefit by the production from such separately owned tracts to produce and receive, instead thereof, their fair,
equitable and reasonable share of the unit production or other benefits of it; a separately owned tract's fair,
equitable, and reasonable share of the unit production shall be measured by the value of each such tract for oil and
gas purposes and its contributing value to the unit in relation to like values of other tracts in the unit, taking into
account acreage, the quantity of oil and gas recoverable from it, location on the structure, its probable productivity
of oil and gas in the absence of unit operations, the burden of operations to which the tract will or is likely to be
subjected, or so many of these factors, or such other pertinent engineering, geological or operating factors as may be
reasonably susceptible of determination; "unit production" as that term is used in this chapter means all oil and gas
produced from a unit area from the effective date of the order of the commission creating the unit regardless of the
well or tract within the unit area from which the same is produced;
- (3) the manner in which the unit and the further development and operation of the unit area shall or may be financed and
the basis, terms and conditions on which the cost and expense of it shall be apportioned among and assessed against the
tracts and interests made chargeable with it, including a detailed accounting procedure governing all charges and
credits incident to such operations; upon terms and conditions as to time and rate of interest as may be fair to all
concerned, reasonable provision shall be made in the plan of unitization for carrying or otherwise financing lessees
who are unable to promptly meet their financial obligations in connection with the unit;
- (4) the procedure and basis upon which wells, equipment and other properties of the several lessees within the unit area
are to be taken over and used for unit operations, including the method of arriving at the compensation for it, or of
otherwise proportionately equalizing or adjusting the investment of the several lessees in the project as of the
effective date of unit operation;
- (5) the creation of an operating committee to have general overall management and control of the unit and the conduct of
its business and affairs and the operations carried on by it, together with the creation or designation of other
subcommittees, boards or officers to function under the authority of the operating committee as may be necessary,
proper or convenient in the efficient management of the unit, defining the powers and duties of all the committees,
boards and officers, and prescribing their tenure and time and method for their selection;
- (6) the time when the plan of unitization becomes effective;
- (7) the time when and the conditions under which and the method by which the unit shall or may be dissolved and its
affairs wound up.
- (d) [Repealed, Sec. 17 ch 160 SLA 1978].
- (e) Except as otherwise expressly provided in this section, all proceedings held under this chapter, including the filing
of petitions, the giving of notices, the conduct of hearings and other action taken by the commission shall be in the
form and manner and in accordance with the procedure provided in AS 31.05.040
- 31.05.060. Additional notice shall be given as the
- (f) From the effective date of an order of the commission creating a unit and prescribing the plan of unitization
applicable to it, the operation of a well producing from the pool or portion of it within the unit area defined in the
order by persons other than the unit or persons acting under its authority or except in the manner and to the extent
provided in the plan of unitization is unlawful and is prohibited.
- (g) The obligation or liability of the lessees or other owners of the oil and gas rights in the several separately owned
tracts for the payment of unit expense shall at all times be several and not joint or collective and in no event shall
a lessee or other owner of the oil and gas rights in the separately owned tract be chargeable with, obligated or
liable, directly or indirectly, for more than the amount apportioned, assessed or otherwise charged to that lessee's or
owner's interest in the separately owned tract under the plan of unitization and then only to the extent of the lien
provided for in this chapter.
- (h) Subject to such reasonable limitations as may be set out in the plan of unitization, the unit has a first and prior
lien upon the leasehold estate and all other oil and gas rights (exclusive of a landowners' royalty interest) in and to
each separately owned tract, the interest of the owners in and to the unit production and all equipment in the
possession of the unit, to secure the payment of the amount of the unit expense charged to and assessed against such
separately owned tract. The interest of the lessee or other persons who by lease, contract or otherwise are obligated
or responsible for the cost and expense of developing and operating a separately owned tract for oil and gas in the
absence of unitization shall, however, be primarily responsible for and charged with any assessment for unit expense
made against the tract and resort may be had to overriding royalties, oil and gas payments, or other interests, except
royalty interests, which otherwise are not chargeable with these costs, only in the event the owner of interest
primarily responsible fails to pay the assessment of the production to the credit thereof, or production is
insufficient for that purpose. If the owner of any royalty interest, overriding royalty, oil or gas payment, or any
other interest which under the plan of unitization is not primarily responsible for it pays in whole or in part the
amount of an assessment for unit expense for the purpose of protecting such interest, or the amount of the assessment
in whole or in part is deducted from the unit production to the credit of such interest, the owner of it is to the
extent of the payment or deduction subrogated to all the rights of the unit with respect to the interest or interests
primarily responsible for the assessment. The landowners' royalty share of the unit production allocated to each
separately owned tract shall be regarded as royalty to be distributed to and among, or the proceeds of it paid to, the
landowners, free and clear of all unit expense and free of any lien for it.
- (i) Property rights, leases, contracts and all other rights and obligations shall be regarded as amended and modified to
the extent necessary to conform to the provisions and requirements of this chapter, and to any valid and applicable
plan of unitization or order of the commission made and adopted under this chapter, but otherwise remain in effect.
- (j) Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to require a transfer to or vesting in the unit of title to the
separately owned tracts or leases on them within the unit area, other than the right to use and operate them to the
extent set out in the plan of unitization; nor shall the unit be regarded as owning the unit production. The unit
production and the proceeds from the sale of it shall be owned by the several persons to whom it is allocated under the
plan of unitization. All property, whether real or personal, which the unit may in any way acquire, hold, or possess,
may not be acquired, held, or possessed by the unit for its own account but shall be acquired, held, and possessed by
the unit for the account and as agent of the several lessees and shall be the property of the lessees as their
interests appear under the plan of unitization, subject, however, to the right of the unit to the possession,
management, use, or disposal of the same in the proper conduct of its affairs, and subject to any lien the unit may
have on it to secure the payment of unit expense. Neither the unit production or proceeds of the sale of it, nor the
other receipts shall be treated, regarded, or taxed as income or profits of the unit; but instead, all such receipts
shall be the income of the several persons to whom or to whose credit the same are payable under the plan of
unitization. To the extent the unit may receive or disburse the receipts it shall only do so as a common administrative
agent of the persons to whom the receipts are payable.
- (k) The amount of the unit production allocated to each separately owned tract within the unit, and only that amount,
regardless of the well or wells in the unit area from which it may be produced and regardless of whether it is more or
less than the amount of the production from the well or wells, if any, on any such separately owned tract, shall for
all intents, uses and purposes be regarded and considered as production from the separately owned tract, and, except as
may be otherwise authorized in this chapter, or in the plan of unitization approved by the commission, shall be
distributed among or the proceeds of it paid to the persons entitled to share in the production from the separately
owned tract in the same manner, in the same proportions, and upon the same condition that they would have participated
and shared in the production or proceeds of it from such separately owned tract had not the unit been organized, and
with the same legal effect. If adequate provisions are made for the receipt of it, the share of the unit production
allocated to each separately owned tract shall be delivered in kind to the persons entitled to it by virtue of
ownership of oil and gas rights in it or by purchase from the owners subject to the rights of the unit to withhold and
sell the same in payment of unit expense under the plan of unitization, and subject further to the call of the unit on
such portions of the gas for operating purposes as may be provided in the plan of unitization.
- (l) An agreement or plan for the development and operation of a field or pool of oil or gas as a unit, if approved by the
commission for the purpose of conserving oil or gas, does not violate a statute of the state prohibiting monopolies or
acts, arrangements, agreements, contracts, combinations or conspiracies in restraint of trade or commerce.
- (m) Operations carried on under and in accordance with the plan of unitization shall be regarded and considered as a
fulfillment of a compliance with all of the provisions, covenants and conditions, express or implied, of the several
oil and gas leases upon lands included within the unit area, or other contracts pertaining to the development of it
insofar as the leases or other contracts may relate to the pool or portion of it included in the unit area. Wells
drilled or operated on any part of the unit area no matter where located shall for all purposes be regarded as wells
drilled on each separately owned tract within the unit area.
- (n) Nothing in this section or in any plan of unitization shall be construed as increasing or decreasing the implied
covenants of a lease in respect to a common source of supply or lands not included within the unit area of a unit.
- (o) The unit area of a unit may be enlarged to include adjoining portions of the same pool, including the unit area of
another unit, and a new unit created for the unitized management, operation and further development of the enlarged
unit area, or the plan of unitization may be otherwise amended, or the unit area contracted, all in the same manner,
upon the same conditions and subject to the same limitations as provided with respect to the creation of a unit in the
- (p) An aliquot of unit production may be underlifted or overlifted from a unit established under this chapter or AS 38.05.180
(p) only when it does not create waste, except the commissioner may permit underlifting or overlifting for temporary
periods for the purpose of accommodating extraordinary disruptions to an interest owner's production disposal system.
Underlifted oil may be recovered by an interest owner at a daily rate not to exceed 10 percent of the owner's working
or royalty interest share of daily production at the time of underlift recovery. This subsection applies to all units
created after June 30, 1978.
- (q) This section applies to all involuntary units formed in the state. Subsections (a) and (g) - (p) of this section
apply to all voluntary units formed in the state and to a voluntary cooperative or unit plan of development or
operation entered into in accordance with AS 38.05.180(p).
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