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Challenges to Conservation Agencies in the Twenty-First Century

Timothy E. McKee, Onshore Pooling and Unitization (1997)

First let me tell you that I'm not so presumptuous to know or predict the problems that oil and gas conservation divisions will experience in the next century. However there is one problem that I do not think we will be faced with in Kansas. As an illustration of this problem, I refer you to an excellent paper delivered to the Foundation meeting in 1985 by Professor Robert E. Sullivan.1 Professor Sullivan referenced the Interstate Compact Commission and pointed out that the laws in effect in Texas and Oklahoma between 1920 and 1933 “...were not adequate to cope with the glut of oil that followed the...” the discoveries of the Oklahoma City and East Texas fields. In fact both Governor Murray of Oklahoma and Governor Sterling of Texas issued orders temporarily shutting down production from all wells in certain of the fields because of the glut of ten cent per barrel oil. Although we have recently seen the dissapating of “gas bubble”, we are not likely to have a glut of oil or gas in Kansas and presumably not in other producing states.

This effort at humor is a poor attempt to illustrate the fact that we are unable to predict the rise and fall of product and prices that our industry has experienced throughout its history. With an understanding that we cannot predict, but a hope that we can anticipate somewhat the problems of the future, let me outline the challenges for c