Forced Pooling in Oil and Gas: Navigating State Laws, Addressing Conflicting Rights of Landowners, and Use in Negotiations

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Recorded event now available

This CLE webinar will provide guidance to energy counsel on forced pooling. The panel will discuss recent trends with state approaches and laws to address pooling and examine the conflicting rights of landowners. The panel will also offer strategies for using pooling requirements in contract negotiations for mineral rights.


Forced pooling, also known as compulsory or mandatory pooling, of oil and gas interests has drawn renewed interest due in part to the increase in horizontal drilling. Ideally, pooling would be done voluntarily with owners of tracts or portions of tracts agreeing to join together to allow drilling beneath their lands.

However, not all landowners are on board and may be forced to accept such drilling without their consent. Forced pooling is important in oil and gas development. But this has been controversial.

Pooling can also play a role in contract negotiations. Operators can offer a deal under which they lease the oil and gas rights beneath a property. However, in the same offer, they may point out that should the property owner decide against leasing, the operator would access the mineral rights under the state’s forced pooling statute.

Landowners and operators must navigate state laws. Though many states have pooling laws, states approach the pooling issue differently. Some states are revisiting their approach to forced pooling.

Listen as our authoritative panel of energy attorneys examines current trends in state laws, leveraging pooling in contract negotiations, and dealing with conflicting rights of landowners. The panel will provide the perspective of both the operator and the landowner. The panel will also provide a point-counterpoint between states with forced pooling and those that do not.


  1. State law trends
  2. Use in contract negotiations
  3. Conflicting rights of landowners


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • How different states approach the issue of forced pooling and states that are reexamining these laws
  • How operators are leveraging forced pooling laws and how landowners can respond
  • Addressing conflicts among landowners over mineral rights


Dick Emens, Partner
Emens & Wolper, Columbus, Ohio

Mr. Emens’ major areas of practice are business planning, oil/gas/water and coal law, and corporate law. He advises clients on family business matters, oil and gas leases, mineral deeds, pipeline easements, forced pooling, and has represented many clients before state and federal regulatory agencies. Mr. Emens writes and is a frequent speaker about oil, gas and mineral issues. He has served as Trustee and President of the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation; Chair of the Ohio Bar Association Oil and Gas Committee; Trustee of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association; and Attorney Member of the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission.

Jack R. Luellen, Senior Counsel
Husch Blackwell, Denver

Mr. Luellen represents oil and gas company interests in the E&P and midstream sectors. His broad range of experience includes complex commercial matters involving operators, gatherers, marketers and service sector entities. His practice involves the resolution of industry-specific disputes concerning joint venture agreements; operations agreements; breach of contract; surface use and access issues; natural gas processing; construction defects; and payment and recovery of royalties. He counsels his clients on issues surrounding hydraulic fracturing and well-specific activities, such as subsurface trespass, environmental concerns and insurance disputes.


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