Texas Wesleyan Law Review

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On March 4, 1965, the Texas Legislature enacted the Mineral Interest Pooling Act' (MIPA), which became effective on August 29, 1965. MIPA has been amended twice since its enactment, most recently when it was codified in 1977.2 There is no doubt in my mind that extensive thought and effort went into the creation of MIPA; however, I believe the legislators could not have contemplated the effect MIPA would have on horizontal drilling in urban areas, more particularly, the Newark East Field (the Barnett Shale). Although I am not opposed to the legislators taking action to modify MIPA to address horizontal drilling in urban areas, or even adopting a horizontal well MIPA statute, I believe the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) can effectively apply MIPA, as written, to horizontal drilling in the Barnett Shale, and still preserve the objectives of MIPA. This Article will (1) address the brief history of MIPA to help understand why MIPA was enacted, (2) identify the purpose of MIPA, introduce the requirements necessary to invoke MIPA, and define some limitations restricting the use of MIPA, (3) review all MIPA applications regarding the Barnett Shale which have been granted or denied to determine how the RRC has applied MIPA to horizontal drilling in the Barnett Shale, and (4) identify specific issues found in the Barnett Shale MIPA orders and the Examiners' proposal for decisions which I believe the RRC has misapplied MIPA, and suggest how the current MIPA can be properly applied to horizontal drilling in the Barnett Shale while maintaining the purpose and objectives of MIPA when it was originally enacted.



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