Back to Publications

A Comparative Study of Conservation Acts and Practices

Walter E. Will, Proceedings of 4th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1958)

Laws regulating the production of oil and gas, generally referred to as Oil and Gas Conservation Laws, have been enacted in all states which produce oil and gas in substantial quantities. The intent and purpose of all such laws is to regulate the orderly and non-wasteful production of these natural resources. The aim of the regularly established administrative groups is to see that oil and gas in their respective states is conservatively produced in order that the greatest possible economic recovery of oil and gas be obtained.

An ideal statute:

1.Defines and prohibits waste;

2.Confers adequate powers on the administrative body to make reasonable rules and regulations to effectuate the purpose and intent of the Act;

3.Provides safeguards by way of court review.

The Interstate Oil Compact Commission, whose purpose is to conserve oil and gas by the prevention of physical waste, adopted a Form for an Oil and Gas Conservation [546] Statute. A provision written in that form setting forth the objective of conservation laws reads as follows:

It is hereby declared to be in the public interest to foster, to encourage, and to promote the development, production, and utilization of natural resources of oil and gas in the state in such a manner as will prevent waste; to authorize and to provide for the operation and development of oil a