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Suggested TMS Rule #7 and Proposed Response

Posted by bernell on October 5, 2014

The draft document titled, “SUGGESTED TMS POLICIES” is being considered by the Mississippi Oil and Gas Board at its October 15 meeting for an effective date of adoption as of its November meeting date.

There are 7 proposed policies.  I have previously covered the first 6.

I’m covering these policies in order to better inform you about these proposals, but also in order to get your input into my own public comments on these policy changes.

For those wishing to view the six previous policies I have reviewed, here are the links:

Once I have give you an opportunity to comment, I will compose my final letter and mail it to the following address:

Executive Director
Mississippi Oil and Gas Board
500 Greymont Avenue – Suite E
Jackson, Mississippi 39202

And, I encourage you to compose and mail your own letter.  Please note that the sooner you do so, the more likely your comments are to be received and presented to the board members.

Now, here is policy #7 and my comments relative to it:


TMS drilling and production units in most instances are significantly oversized and generally are described utilizing complicated metes and bounds legal descriptions.  In most instances, these TMS drilling units also consist of lands located in multiple sections.  When describing these TMS drilling units(whether in the Petition, the Public Notice or the Affidavits), the Mississippi State Oil & Gas Board requests that the metes and bounds legal descriptions of the drilling units conclude with a separate paragraph reading substantially as follows:

The hereinabove described tract contains                     acres situated in Sections            ,               , and

        , Township 1 North, Range 5 East, Wilkinson County, Mississippi.


Other than the obvious replacements of blanks where  the number "1" appears after Township; where the number "5" appears after Range; where "East"  appears after 5; and where "Wilkinson" appears, I agree with this proposal as a good first step.
However, while I agree with the idea that people really need to understand where their property is located, the fact is that most people don’t know or understand the Section/Township/Range references used to locate land.  With these very large unit sizes and with these oil operating companies utilizing the forced pooling rules to their full advantage while local mineral owners become overwhelmed with the legalese of these notices, perhaps a further requirement of placing a plat overlaid with a road map would be in order.

I realize this may seem burdensome, but if an operating company must furnish a plat with the application, what difference would a published plat make?  $25 or so extra cost?

Certainly this requirement would be less onerous than the Louisiana rule, which require plats to be furnished to all mineral owners inside the unit and within a certain distance around the unit as a part of the application and hearing notification process.

If we’re going to fully inform the public, why stop with a mere legal summary description that, frankly, most people in the public won’t understand? 

I encourage you to change the rule such that it fully communicates with the public. 

There is no need to do this half way.


Your thoughts?

(And, by the way, this ends the fun with considering these rule changes.  Based on the group yawn I've gotten from folks on this, the response has not been what I had hoped.  Which really just goes to support my argument above that people's eyes become crossed when you start throwing legalese at them.)

Jumping the gun just a little, attached is my rough draft letter to the Board...I plan to mail it out tomorrow. 

So feel free to comment away in the mean time.

MS Oil and Gas Board Response 10062014.pdf

What do you think about it?