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Suggested TMS Rule #1 - Proposed Response

Posted by bernell on September 29, 2014

I plan to write a “public comment” for each of the five “SUGGESTED TMS POLICIES” proposed by the Mississippi Oil and Gas Board.  The 12 page document with these changes on it may be found here:

I plan to mail my letter via U. S. Postal Service no later than Tuesday, October 7, to insure its receipt in time to be read by the members of the Mississippi Oil and Gas Board prior to the October 15, 2014 meeting scheduled for Regional Workforce Center at Southwest Mississippi Community College.  I’ll mail my letter to Executive Director, Mississippi Oil and Gas Board, 500 Greymont Avenue – Suite E, Jackson, Mississippi 39202.

Tonight I plan to deal with “POLICY #1.”  Each night this week I plan to take another proposed policy until Friday I have covered all of the policies.

I ask, at a minimum, for your input into what I plan to write, but, more importantly, I ask that you write a letter yourself providing public input into these changes.

Folks, this is YOUR opportunity to support or speak out about these policies.  I can assure you that oil exploration companies will object to some of these policy changes and will be writing to the board to express that objection.

If you, the mineral owners and public-at-large, do not submit your input, then expect these proposals to be eliminated or watered down.

I’m as apathetic as the next person…got a lot on my platter…but this is something that can and likely will affect generations to come in our little part of the world. 

Please invest a little time…for your legacy if for no other reason.

Okay…so, here goes….


“In all 100% or “simple” integration dockets filed under Miss. Code Anno. Section 53-3-7(1), both the Petition and the Landman’s Affidavit shall contain an affirmative statement that the petitioner has made a good-faith effort to examine the public land records for the purpose of identifying all owners of drilling rights and rights to share in production in the proposed drilling unit (whose identity can reasonably be determined) not more than ninety days (90) days prior to the filing of the docket.”

As I understand the current applicable law, I fully agree with this proposed policy change. 

However, I would propose that a penalty be added for falsifying the affidavit. 

It is one thing to require someone to sign an Affidavit and another to penalize that person for falsifying the filing of an Affidavit. 

IF a law or rule already exists that provides for a penalty for filing an affidavit falsely, then I encourage the Mississippi Oil and Gas Board to demonstrate its intent to make use of that law by taking whatever steps are allowed up to and including filing of criminal charges against those filing such false affidavits.

Frankly, it is meaningless to create a policy that requires an affidavit without having any penalty associated with it or without demonstrating the willingness to make use of existing penalties for falsifying the affidavit.

The purpose of this rule is to stop the filing of 10 day newspaper notices to mineral owners of the intent to apply for a drilling permit.  These type notices only require the mineral owners to pay the cost of drilling rather than the 300% penalty, but, even so, these oil companies could conceivably have zero minerals leased (doubtful, but conceivable), but obtain a permit and then tell the mineral owners to either lease or ride it down.

I'm thinking they would only be required to pay a 3/16 lease payment under these circumstances.
 And, in these TMS wells, the fear of hitting a dry hole doesn’t exist, so the oil companies really aren’t faced with the same dilemma as they are with vertical wells where most are not successful.

Okay, so that’s my letter response for the first proposed “suggested” TMS policy.

If anyone has a better understanding of this proposal and/or a different idea for a response, please feel free to offer us the benefit of your knowledge.

What do you think about it?