Natural gas shall not be permitted to waste or escape from any well or pipeline, when it is reasonably possible to prevent such waste, after the owner or operator of such gas, or well, or pipeline, has had a reasonable length of time to shut in such gas in the well, or make the necessary repairs to such well or pipeline to prevent such waste: Provided, That (a) if, in the process of drilling a well for oil or gas, or both, gas is found in such well, and the owner or operator thereof desires to continue to search for oil or gas, or both, by drilling deeper in search of lower oil or gas-bearing strata, or (b) if it becomes necessary to make repairs to any well producing gas, commonly known as "cleaning out," and if in either event it is necessary for the gas in such well to escape therefrom during the process of drilling or making repairs, as the case may be, then the owner or operator of such well shall prosecute such drilling or repairs with reasonable diligence, so that the waste of gas from the well shall not continue longer than reasonably necessary, and if, during the progress of such deeper drilling or repairs, any temporary suspension thereof becomes necessary, the owner or operator of such well shall use all reasonable means to shut in the gas and prevent its waste during such temporary suspension: Provided, however, That in all cases where both oil and gas are found and produced from the same oil and gas-bearing stratum, and where it is necessary for the gas therefrom to waste in the process of producing the oil, the owner or operator shall use all reasonable diligence to conserve and save from waste so much of such gas as it is reasonably possible to save, but in no case shall such gas from any well be wasted in the process of producing oil therefrom until the owner or operator of such well shall have filed with the director a plan of operation for said well showing, among other things, the gas-oil production ratio involved in such operation, which plan shall govern the operation of said well unless the director shall, within ten days from the date on which such plan is submitted to the director, make a finding that such plan fails, under all the facts and circumstances, to propose the exercise of all reasonable diligence to conserve and save from waste so much of such gas as it is reasonably possible to save, in which event production of oil at such well by the wasting of gas shall cease and desist until a plan of operation is approved by the director. Successive plans of operation may be filed by the owner or operator of any such well with the director.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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