|(a) General. All wells shall be drilled as nearly vertical
as possible by normal, prudent, practical drilling operations. Nothing in
this section shall be construed to permit the drilling of any well in such
a manner that the wellbore crosses lease and/or property lines (or unit lines
in cases of pooling) without special permission.
(b) Inclination surveys.
(A) An inclination survey made by persons or concerns approved
by the commission shall be filed on a form prescribed by the commission for
each well drilled or deepened with rotary tools, except as hereinafter provided,
or when, as a result of any operation, the course of the well is changed.
The first shot point of such inclination survey shall be made at a depth not
greater than 500 feet below the surface of the ground, and succeeding shot
points shall be made either at 500-foot intervals or at the nearest drill
bit change thereto, but not to exceed 1,000 feet apart.
(B) Inclination surveys conforming to these requirements may
be made either during the normal course of drilling or after the well has
reached total depth. Acceptable directional surveys may be filed in lieu of
(C) Copies of all directional or inclination surveys, regardless
of the reason for which they are run, shall be filed as a part of or in addition
to the inclination surveys otherwise required by this section. If computations
are made from dipmeter surveys to determine the course of the wellbore in
any portion of the surveyed interval, a report of such computations shall
(D) Inclination surveys shall not be required in any well drilled
to a total depth of 2,000 feet or less on a regular location at least 150
feet from the nearest lease line, provided the well is not intentionally deviated
from the vertical in any manner whatsoever.
(E) Inclination surveys shall not be required on wells deepened
with rotary tools if the well is deepened no more than 300 feet or the distance
from the surface location to the nearest lease or boundary line, whichever
is the lesser, and provided that the well was not intentionally deviated from
the vertical at any time before or after the beginning of deepening operations.
(F) Inclination surveys will not be required on wells that
are drilled and completed as dry holes and are permanently plugged and abandoned.
If such wells are reentered at a later date and completed as producers or
injection or disposal wells, inclination reports will be required and must
be filed with the appropriate completion form for the well.
(G) Inclination survey filings will not be required on wells
that are reentries within casing of previously producing wells if inclination
data are already on file with the Railroad Commission of Texas (commission).
If such data are not on file with the commission, the results of an inclination
survey must be reported on the appropriate form and filed with the completion
form, except as provided by subparagraph (D) of this paragraph.
(A) The report form shall be signed and certified by a party
having personal knowledge of the facts therein contained. The report shall
include a tabulation of the maximum drifts which could occur between the surface
and the first shot point, and each two successive shot points, assuming that
all of the unsurveyed hole between any two shot points has the same inclination
as that measured at the lowest shot point, and the total possible accumulative
drift, assuming that all measured angles of inclination are in the same direction.
(B) In addition, the report shall be accompanied by a certified
statement of the operator, or of someone acting at his direction on his behalf,
(i) that the well was not intentionally deviated from vertical;
(ii) that the well was deviated at random, with an explanation
of the circumstances.
(C) The report shall be filed in the district office by attaching
one copy to each appropriate completion form for the well.
(D) The commission may require the submittal of the original
charts, graphs, or discs resulting from the surveys.
(c) Directional surveys.
(1) When required.
(A) When the maximum displacement indicated by an inclination
survey is greater than the actual distance from the surface location to the
nearest lease line or pooled unit boundary, it will be considered to be a
violating well subject to plugging and to penalty action. However, an operator
may submit a directional survey, run at his own expense by a commission approved
surveying company, to show the true bottom hole location of the well to be
within the prescribed limits. When such directional survey shows the well
to be bottomed within the confines of the lease, but nearer to a well or lease
line or pooled unit boundary than allowed by applicable rules, or by the permit
for the well if the well has been granted an exception to §3.37 of this
title (relating to Statewide Spacing Rule), a new permit will be required
if it is established that the bottom hole location or completion location
is not a reasonable location.
(B) Directional surveys shall be required on each well drilled
under the directional deviation provisions of this section.
(C) No oil, gas, or geothermal resource allowable shall be
assigned any well on which a directional survey is required under any provision
of this section until a directional survey has been filed with and accepted
by the commission.
(2) Filing and type of survey.
(A) Directional surveys required under this section must be
run by competent surveying companies, approved by the commission, signed and
certified by a person having actual knowledge of the facts, in the manner
prescribed by the commission in accordance with §3.12 of this title (relating
to Directional Survey Company Report).
(B) All directional surveys, unless otherwise specified by
the commission, shall be either single shot surveys or multi-shot surveys
with the shot points not more than 200 feet apart, beginning within 200 feet
of the surface, and the bottom hole location must be oriented both to the
surface location and to the lease lines (or unit lines in cases of pooling).
(C) If more than 200 feet of surface casing has been run, the
operator may begin the directional survey immediately below the surface casing
depth. However, if such method is used, the inclination drifts from the surface
of the ground to the surface casing depth must be added cumulatively and reported
on the appropriate form. This total shall be assumed to be in the direction
least favorable to the operator, and such point shall be considered the starting
point of the directional survey.
(d) Intentional deviation of wells.
(A) Directional deviation--The intentional deviation of a well
from vertical in a predetermined compass direction.
(B) Random deviation--The intentional deviation of a well without
regard to compass direction for one of the following reasons:
(i) to straighten a hole which has become crooked in the normal
course of drilling;
(ii) to sidetrack a portion of a hole because of mechanical
difficulty in drilling.
(2) When permitted.
(A) Directional deviation. A permit for directionally deviating
a well may be granted by the commission:
(i) for the purpose of seeking to reach and control another
well which is out of control or threatens to evade control;
(ii) where conditions on the surface of the ground prevent
or unduly complicate the drilling of a well at a regular location;
(iii) where conditions are encountered underground which prevent
or unduly hinder the normal completion of the well;
(iv) where it can be shown to be advantageous from the standpoint
of mechanical operation to drill more than one well from the same surface
location to reach the productive horizon at essentially the same positions
as would be reached if the several wells were normally drilled from regular
locations prescribed by the well spacing rules in effect;
(v) for the purpose of drilling a horizontal drainhole; or
(vi) for other reasons found by the commission to be sufficient
after notice and hearing.
(B) Random deviation. Permission for the random deviation of
a well may be granted by the commission whenever the necessity for such deviation
is shown, as prescribed in paragraph (3)(C) of this subsection.
(3) Applications for deviation.
(A) Applications for wells to be directionally deviated must
specify on the application to drill both the surface location of the well
and the projected bottom hole location of the well. On the plat, in addition
to the plat requirements provided for in §3.5 of this title (relating
to Application to Drill, Deepen, Reenter, or Plug Back) (Statewide Rule 5),
the following shall be included:
(i) two perpendicular lines providing the distance in feet
from the projected bottomhole location, rather than the surface location,
to the nearest points on the lease, pooled unit, or unitized tract line. If
there is an unleased interest in a tract of the pooled unit or unitized tract
that is nearer than the pooled unit or unitized tract line, the nearest point
on that unleased tract boundary shall be used;
(ii) a line providing the distance in feet from the projected
bottomhole location to the nearest point on the lease line, pooled unit line,
or unitized tract line. If there is an unleased interest in a tract of the
pooled unit that is nearer than the pooled unit line, the nearest point on
that unleased tract boundary shall be used;
(iii) a line providing the distance in feet from the projected
bottomhole location, rather than the surface location, to the nearest oil,
gas, or oil and gas well, identified by number, applied for, permitted, or
completed in the same lease, pooled unit, or unitized tract and in the same
field and reservoir; and
(iv) perpendicular lines providing the distance in feet from
the two nearest non-parallel survey/section lines to the projected bottomhole
(B) If the necessity for directional deviation arises unexpectedly
after drilling has begun, the operator shall give written notice by letter
or telegram of such necessity to the appropriate district office and to the
commission office in Austin, and upon giving such notice, the operator may
proceed with the directional deviation. The commission may, at its discretion,
accept written notice electronically transmitted. If the operator proceeds
with the drilling of a deviated well under such circumstances, he proceeds
at his own risk. Before any allowable shall be assigned to such well, a permit
for the subsurface location of each completion interval shall be obtained
from the commission under the provisions set out in the commission rules.
However, should the operator fail to show good and sufficient cause for such
deviation, no permit will be granted for the well.
(C) If the necessity for random deviation arises unexpectedly
after the drilling has begun, the operator shall give written notice by letter
or telegram of such necessity to the appropriate district office and to the
commission office in Austin, and, upon giving such notice, the operator may
proceed with the random deviation, subject to compliance with the provisions
of this section on inclination surveys. The commission may, at its discretion,
accept written notice electronically transmitted.
(e) Surveys on request of other operators. The commission,
at the written request of any operator in a field, shall determine whether
a directional survey, an inclination survey, or any other type of survey approved
by the commission for the purpose of determining bottom hole location of wells,
shall be made in regard to a well complained of in the same field.
(1) The complaining party must show probable cause to suspect
that the well complained of is not bottomed within its own lease lines.
(2) The complaining party must agree to pay all costs and expenses
of such survey, shall assume all liability, and shall be required to post
bond in a sufficient sum as determined by the commission as security against
all costs and risks associated with the survey.
(3) The complaining party and the commission shall agree upon
the selection of the well surveying company to conduct the survey, which shall
be a surveying company on the commission's approved list.
(4) The survey shall be witnessed by the commission, and may
be witnessed by any party, or his agent, who has an interest in the field.
(5) Nothing in these rules shall be construed to prevent or
limit the commission, acting on its own authority, from conducting spot checks
and surveys at any time and place for the purpose of determining compliance
with the commission rules and regulations.
(1) False reports. The filing of a false or incorrect directional
survey shall be grounds for cancellation of the well permit, for pipeline
severance of the lease on which the well is located, for penalty action under
the applicable statutes, and/or for such other and further action as may be
(2) Other. The same penalties and actions as set forth in paragraph
(1) of this subsection shall be assessable against any operator who refuses
to comply with a commission order which issues under subsection (e) of this