By Darryl L. Flowers
The event was sponsored by Montana Overthrust Management (MOM), a Choteau company that has been securing mineral leases in the region for several years. MOM works closely with Primary Petroleum. Primary is actively drilling in Teton and Pondera Counties.
The meeting opened with a few words from Harold Yeager, one of the partners in MOM.
Yeager introduced Dave Galt, Executive Director of the Montana Petroleum Association, who then turned the meeting over to Jack King, a Landman with Hancock Enterprises in Billings.
King explained the meaning of “severed estates” and that the mineral estate is the dominant estate. According to King, each mineral on a property is a separate estate in its own right. Those minerals include oil, gas, coal, uranium, gravel, etc.
Next up was Tom Richmond, a Petroleum Engineer and the Division Administrator for the Montana Board of Oil and Gas.The Board of Oil and Gas is part of the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.
Richmond detailed the rules pertaining to the spacing units, explaining the system used by the State of Montana to locate wells to provide for efficient production of oil and gas. Richmond also touched on the long history of oil and gas exploration and production in Montana, noting that there are 45,000 drilled wells in the state, with 440 currently producing oil while 6,500 are producing gas.
With all the recent news about hydraulic fracturing of late, Richmond told the crowd that the first well was “fracked” in Oklahoma in 1949. He reported that there are “no documented cases of groundwater contamination.”
Between 125 and 150 people attended the meeting, according to organizer Harold Yeager.