§22C-8-9. Application to establish a drilling unit; contents; notice.

(a) Whenever the board has issued an order directing the director to refuse a drilling permit, the gas operator may apply to the board for the establishment of a drilling unit encompassing a contiguous tract or tracts if such gas operator believes that such a drilling unit will afford one well location for the production of gas from under the tract on which the drilling permit was sought, and will be agreeable to the coal seam owners.

(b) An application to establish a drilling unit shall be filed with the board and shall contain:

(1) The name and address of the applicant;

(2) A plat prepared by a licensed land surveyor or registered professional engineer showing the boundary of the proposed drilling unit, the district and county in which such unit is located, the acreage of the proposed drilling unit, the boundary of the tracts which comprise the proposed drilling unit, the names of the owners of record of each such tract, the proposed well location on the proposed drilling unit, and the proposed well location for which the division refused to issue a drilling permit;

(3) The names and addresses of the royalty owners of the gas underlying the tracts which comprise the proposed drilling unit;

(4) The names and addresses of the gas operators of the tracts which comprise the proposed drilling unit;

(5) The approximate depth and target formation to which the well for the proposed drilling unit is to be drilled;

(6) A statement indicating whether a voluntary pooling agreement has been reached among any or all of the royalty owners of the gas underlying the tracts which comprise the proposed drilling unit and the gas operators of such tracts;

(7) An affidavit of publication of the notice of intent to file an application to establish a drilling unit as required in subsection (c) of this section; and

(8) Such other pertinent and relevant information as the board may prescribe by reasonable rules promulgated in accordance with the provisions of section six of this article.

(c) Prior to the filing of an application to establish a drilling unit, the applicant shall cause to be published, as a Class II legal advertisement in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, a notice of intent to file an application to establish a drilling unit. Such notice shall contain the information required by subdivisions (1), (4) and (5), subsection (b) of this section, the name of the royalty owner of the gas underlying the proposed well location on the proposed drilling unit, plus an abbreviated description, or, at the applicant's option, a plat of the drilling unit, disclosing the county and district wherein the proposed drilling unit is to be located, the post office closest to the proposed drilling unit, a statement that the applicant will deliver a copy of the plat required by subdivision (2) of subsection (b) to any person desiring the same, the date upon which the applicant intends to file the application to establish a drilling unit, and a statement that written protests and objections to such application may be filed with the board until a specified date, which date shall be at least ten days after the date upon which the applicant intends to file the application to establish a drilling unit. The publication area of the notice required by this subsection shall be the county or counties in which the proposed drilling unit is to be located.

(d) At the time an application to establish a drilling unit is filed, the applicant shall forward a copy thereof by registered or certified mail to each and every person whose name and address were included on the application in accordance with the provisions of subdivisions (3) and (4), subsection (b) of this section. With each such application there shall be enclosed a notice (the form for which shall be furnished by the board on request) addressed to each such person to whom a copy of the application is required to be sent, informing the person that the application is being mailed by registered or certified mail, pursuant to the requirements of this article: Provided, That the application and notice need notbe forwarded to those royalty owners or gas operators within the boundary of the proposed drilling unit who have previously agreed to voluntary pooling by separately stated document or documents empowering the gas operator, by assignment or otherwise, unilaterally to declare a unit.