Don’t let the courts change our business!
Pore space legislation is among the most important efforts this legislative session.
TELL YOUR LEGISLATORS TO SUPPORT SB 2344! >>
What is it? Pore space is the very small cavity or void space within underground rock that is generally filled with water (owned by the state) or oil and natural gas (owned by the mineral estate).
Who is affected? Our industry’s producers, hydraulic fracture providers, and injection well operators all face potential lawsuits. They face increased costs and uncertainty which disincentivizes investment.
EOR (enhanced oil recovery) is dead without passage of SB 2344, killing new investment opportunities for legacy production areas of western North Dakota, eliminating the chance for the coal industry to sell CO2 to our oil fields, and losing future hopes of EOR use in the Bakken.
That’s why communities like Bowman, ND have stood in support of SB 2344.
Why is it an issue? In a 2017 decision, the North Dakota Supreme Court combined two sections of code to create new law that does not fit the intentions of legislation passed in 2009 and 1979.
The oil and gas industry needs the clarifying legislation of 2344 to be passed. Without this legislation, lawsuits will be filed against oil and gas producers, injection facility operators (including salt water disposal units), and surface owners, thereby crippling the western North Dakota courts.
This legislation is fair. This bill defines pore space as owned by the surface owner and will return the law to match what everyone understood to be normal business practices from 1979 to 2016.
The legislation is limited. It primarily applies to pore space activities within a spacing unit and unitized area, which is historically a normal practice.
Any liquids or gases sourced from outside a given spacing unit will be considered commercial, which requires compensation to the surface owner at the injection site. Current injection contracts with surface owners are protected by this legislation.
The legislation prevents a flurry of lawsuits and protects a land owner’s ability to develop his or her land. Historically, the surface owner at the point of an injection well is compensated for injection activities. Under the Supreme Court decision, neighbors would not only be compensated, they could prevent a neighbor decision to lease surface for operating an injection well.
There is no meaningful alternative. Opposition groups have offered no substantial or meaningful compromise or alternative to SB 2344. Industry has accepted all minor amendments proposed by the opposition.
SB 2344 protects the coal industry. The bill protects the 14,000 jobs that rely on the North Dakota’s lignite energy industry by allowing CO2 EOR to continue developing economically.
Courts should interpret, not make the law. The law has worked since 1979. The legislature should make the laws, not the courts.
Without SB 2344, trial lawyers are the winners. Without passing SB 2344, trial lawyers will swamp western North Dakota to file lawsuits against oil and gas producers and injection well operators. They will pit neighbor against neighbor and our courts will be clogged with unnecessary lawsuits. Their victories will provide little in terms of monetary compensation to neighboring surface owners, but collectively, the legal fees paid to attorneys will be enormous.
Tell your legislator to support SB 2344 and our industry!
North Dakota’s oil and gas industry used innovation and efficiency to survive the greatest downturn in the history of our industry. Now lawyers and courts threaten our ability to compete.
SB 2344 stops the attorneys and is vital for our industry.