Well Sites—Surface Use Agreement

When an oil and gas company decides to construct a well, the company typically leases the portion of the surface on which the well sits from the surface owner. This lease is memorialized in a Surface Use Agreement (SUA). The SUA will define the size of the well site, the number of wells that may be drilled on it, the duties and responsibilities of both parties during and after construction, and the amount of compensation to be paid to the surface owner. 

As a surface owner, you typically cannot prevent the oil and gas company from placing the well site on your property. However, you can negotiate to obtain the best possible terms so as to protect the surface of your property during the life of the SUA, which could easily last for 30 years or more.

We have vast experience helping our surface owning clients during SUA negotiations, including negotiating terms and conditions related to the following situations:

  • Nearby bodies of water
  • The impact on terraces, crops and livestock
  • The size of the site and its downsizing after completion of the well
  • The number of wells allowed to be drilled on the SUA and additional compensation for each well
  • The ability of the oil and gas company to convert an oil and gas well into a disposal well
  • The maintenance of the site
  • Whether a road will be built to the site
  • Whether the surface owner can sell water for the drilling and completion of the well
  • The eventual remediation of the site after the well has been plugged and abandoned

Contact us today for a personal meeting to discuss your particular needs and goals.