Louisiana oil and gas laws can be found in Title 30 of Louisiana Revised Statutes. Pursuant to La. R.S. 30:1, the state Department of Conservation, is established and the department will be directed and controlled by a commissioner of conservation, who will be appointed by the governor, with the consent of the Senate, for a term of four years.
Powers and Jurisdiction of the Commissioner
The commissioner has jurisdiction and authority over all persons and property necessary to enforce effectively the provisions of this statute and all other laws relating to the conservation of oil or gas[i].
The commissioner makes such inquiries as s/he thinks proper to determine whether or not waste, over which s/he has jurisdiction, exists or is imminent. In the exercise of this power the commissioner has the authority to collect data; to make investigations and inspections; to examine properties, leases, papers, books, and records; to examine, survey, check, test, and gauge oil and gas wells, tanks, refineries, and modes of transportation; to hold hearings; to provide for the keeping of records and the making of reports; to require the submission of an emergency phone number by which the operator may be contacted in case of an emergency; and to take any action as reasonably appears to him to be necessary to enforce this statute.
Regulation of Production
Whether or not the total production from a pool be limited or prorated, no rule, regulation, or order of the commissioner will in terms or effect[ii]:
- Make it necessary for the producer from, or the owner of, a tract of land in the pool, in order that s/he may obtain the tract’s just and equitable share of the production of the pool, as that share is set forth in this Section, to drill and operate any well or wells on the tract in addition to the well or wells that can without waste produce this share, or
- Occasion net drainage from a tract unless there be drilled and operated upon the tract a well or wells in addition to the well or wells thereon that can without waste produce the tract’s just and equitable share of the production of the pool.
For the prevention of waste and to avoid the drilling of unnecessary wells, the commissioner should establish a drilling unit or units for each pool had been developed to an extent and where conditions exist making it impracticable or unreasonable to use a drilling unit at the present stage of development.
Whenever it appears that a person is violating or is threatening to violate a law of this state with respect to the conservation of oil or gas, or both, or a provision of this statute, or a rule, regulation, or order made thereunder, the commissioner will bring suit to restrain that person from continuing the violation or from carrying out the threat[iii].
Venue should be in the district court in the parish of the residence of any one of the defendants or in the parish where the violation is alleged to have occurred or is threatened.
In proceedings brought under authority of, or for the purpose of contesting the validity of, a provision of this statute, or of an oil or gas conservation law of this state, or of a rule, regulation, or order issued thereunder, appeals may be taken in accordance with the general laws relating to appeals[iv]. In appeals from judgments or decrees in suits to contest the validity of a provision of this statute, or a rule or regulation of the commissioner hereunder, the appeals when docketed in the proper appellate court will be placed on the preference docket of the court and may be advanced as the court directs.
Whoever violates a provision of this statute, or a rule, regulation, or order of the commissioner made hereunder, will be subject to a civil penalty of not more than five thousand dollars a day for each day of violation and for each act of violation[v].
Whoever knowingly and willfully violates a provision of this statute, or a rule, regulation, or order of the commissioner made hereunder, will be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction, will be fined not more than five thousand dollars for each day of violation and for each act of violation.
Further, whoever knowingly and willfully aids or abets a person in the violation of a law of this state relating to the conservation of oil or gas, or the violation of a provision of this Chapter, or any rule, regulation, or order made thereunder, will be subject to the same penalties provided herein for the principal violator.
Within ninety days after the expiration of production under a mineral lease previously maintained by production and all other rights to maintain that lease, the lessee or his/her assigns should notify the lessor or his/her representative that the lease has terminated, unless such notification is already provided in the lease[vi].
A person desiring to lease from a state agency should make application with deposit to the agency for application with deposit to the mineral board. The agency itself advertises, receives bids at its domicile, and leases in the same manner and subject to the same restrictions applicable to leases by the State Mineral and Energy Board[vii].
[i] La. R.S. 30:4.
[ii] La. R.S. 30:9.
[iii] La. R.S. 30:14.
[iv] La. R.S. 30:15.
[v] La. R.S. 30:18.
[vi] La. R.S. 30:102.
[vii] La. R.S. 30:156.