Applying Familiar Concepts to New Technology: Under the Traditional Oil and Gas Lease, a Lesee Does Not Need Pooling Authority to Drill a Horizontal Well that Crosses Lease Lines
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Oil and gas development in Texas has witnessed a proliferation of horizontal wells that often must cross lease lines to be economical. By drilling such horizontal wells that cross lease lines, lessees have unlocked vast mineral resources for production. The technology that enables the drilling of horizontal, wells has rapidly matured, but the legal system has not been as swift in providing mineral lessees with guidance as to how traditional oil and gas law principles apply when a mineral lessee sets out to drill a horizontal well that crosses lease lines. In this respect, one question has repeatedly emerged: where a lessee has a right to drill and produce from two adjacent tracts, does the lessee need pooling authority (or some other express consent from his lessors) to drill a horizontal well that crosses the boundary of those two adjacent leases?