Forced pooling could become reality

When residents of Windsor’s Ridge West and River West subdivisions suggested to an oil company official last week they may refuse to allow Ranchers Exploration to lease oil and gas mineral rights attached to their land, the company said it might resort to forced pooling.

“If nobody signs the lease, do you still have the right to drill?” a woman at a meeting Monday in Windsor asked Ranchers Exploration Chief Operating Officer Michael Ward.

“Yes,” Ward said, “but it’s not going to be fun.”

Ward said subdivision residents who don’t want to lease their minerals might have to endure a lengthy process that involves state oil and gas regulators having the final say about whether all residents’ mineral rights will be pooled together regardless of their willingness to sign the lease for their minerals.

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