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Texas Railroad Commission orders Chesapeake Energy to plug back illegally-drilled Barnett Shale well

The Texas Railroad Commission has denied Chesapeake Energy’s request for permission to produce its Ramey 1H well in Tarrant County, because the well was drilled in violation of RRC spacing rules. Chesapeake drilled the horizontal well with a 3,553-foot lateral, even though its permit was for a lateral of only 1,839 feet. The RRC ordered Chesapeake to plug back the well so as to comply with the permit. The problem was that the wellbore passed wihin 330 feet of an unleased tract, violating the Barnett Shale field rules that require all wells to be located at least 330 feet from the boundary of the lease or unit. Kevin Cunningham, regional counsel for Chesapeake’s southern division, said that the ruling “would have the negative effect of rendering a significant amount of gas” unrecoverable under Chesapeake’s leases. For the story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, click here. Situations like those faced by Chesapeake will drive the debate for forced-pooling legislation in Texas.

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