Title 52 - Oil & Gas Code

§52-318.22. Seismic exploration operations - Registration - Permits - Requirements - Penalty.


          A. The Corporation Commission is hereby directed and authorized to promulgate rules governing the operations of seismographic exploration for the purpose of protecting the interests and property of the citizens of this state.

          B. Any person, firm, corporation or entity desiring to commence any seismographic exploration in this state shall, prior to any such activity, be duly registered with the Corporation Commission and shall be required to apply for a permit for each separate seismic exploration.

          C. Rules promulgated by the Commission governing all seismic exploration operations shall include, but not be limited to, requirements for:

                    1. Applicants to post a form of financial surety guarantee, the form and amount to be determined by the Commission which shall remain in effect until release is authorized by the Commission;

                    2. Applicants to attempt to notify all owners of the surface estate where the seismic exploration will occur at least fifteen (15) days prior to commencement of seismic exploration. If the applicant has the right to conduct seismic exploration and has attempted to give actual notice of intent to conduct seismic exploration to the surface owner any time before fifteen (15) days prior to conducting seismic exploration, such action shall be considered sufficient notification for the purposes of this section. For the purposes of this section, an attempt to notify shall be considered sufficient when the notification is sent by U.S. mail, the notice is postmarked at least fifteen (15) days prior to commencement of any seismic exploration, and has been given at the last address shown of record for the surface owner in the records of the county clerk in the county where the surface estate is located, or an address that is known by applicant to be more accurate than the foregoing address of record;

                    3. Applicants to file an affidavit within ninety (90) days of the last mailing of the notice described herein with the county clerk in the county where the property is located, setting out that mailing of the notice has occurred in compliance with this section, and specifically listing the surface owners which were not locatable at the addresses required. Further, in the event that any party is not locatable at said addresses, then such surface owner will be deemed as having rejected the offer provided in the notice required under this section; and

                    4. Applicants to be permitted for each seismic exploration operation.

          D. The notice required in subsection C of this section shall be sent by U.S. mail, include a copy of the oil or gas lease or seismic permit authorizing the use of the surface for seismic exploration and contain the following information:

                    1. Name of the company conducting seismic exploration;

                    2. Anticipated date of seismic exploration;

                    3. A description of the surface estate of the notice recipient to be entered upon for the seismic exploration to be conducted;

                    4. If there is not a prior written agreement between the surface owner and the operator as to seismic exploration, the following provision with regard to the amount of the damages offered by the operator to the surface owner shall be included in the notice:

                    "Operator will conduct the proposed seismic exploration in a prudent manner and agrees to indemnify and hold you harmless from personal injury or property damage claims that may result from the operator's seismic exploration to the extent that such damage claims are not the result of your acts or omissions. Pursuant to the Seismic Exploration Regulation Act, you, as the surface owner, are entitled to reasonable damages that will be sustained by reason of the operator's seismic exploration. The operator hereby offers you $______ [operator shall fill in the amount] as compensation for the reasonable damages to be sustained by reason of the operator's seismic exploration. If you accept this offer in writing to the operator within fifteen (15) days of the postmark of this letter, you will be deemed to have accepted and agreed to the amount as full consideration for all reasonable damages by reason of the operator's seismic exploration. Operator shall, upon receipt of your timely acceptance of the offer contained herein, remit to you the consideration described in this offer. The acceptance of this amount shall not prohibit you from attempting to recover damages which are unreasonable and caused by reason of the operator's seismic exploration on your surface estate.

                    In the event that you either (a) reject the offer in this letter in writing to the operator within fifteen (15) days of the postmark of this letter, or (b) fail to make a timely acceptance of the offer contained herein, then you will be deemed to have rejected the offer contained herein, and pursuant to the Seismic Exploration Regulation Act, you may initiate an action pursuant to The Small Claims Procedure Act or a civil action pursuant to the Oklahoma Pleading Code, as appropriate, to recover the reasonable damages, if any, actually sustained by reason of the operator's seismic exploration. If an action to recover reasonable damages is commenced accordingly and a judgment is entered in the action for you as to the damages in an amount in excess of the amount set forth in this notice for reasonable damages by reason of the operator's seismic exploration, you shall be considered the prevailing party. If the judgment entered is for an amount equal to or less than the amount set forth in this notice for reasonable damages by reason of the operator's seismic exploration, although you will be entitled to receive the judgment amount, if any, the operator shall be considered the prevailing party. The prevailing party in any court proceeding brought pursuant to the Seismic Exploration Regulation Act shall be entitled to recover the costs of the suit, including but not limited to reasonable attorney and expert witness fees and litigation expenses. If the action should be dismissed other than by way of settlement prior to the entry of judgment, then the surface owner shall forfeit its right to receive any consideration for all reasonable damages by reason of the operator’s seismic exploration.”; and

                    5. Any other pertinent information the Commission deems appropriate and relevant for the protection of surface owners.

          E. The Commission is further directed to promulgate rules to implement a system to register complaints against any person, firm or corporation conducting seismic exploration. The Commission may determine if and when a complaint has been adequately resolved.

          F. Any person, firm, corporation or entity which conducts any seismic exploration without a permit by the Commission, or in any other manner violates the rules of the Commission governing such exploration shall be subject to a penalty of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) per violation per day by the Commission, in addition to any other legal remedy provided by law.

Added by Laws 1998, c. 354, § 2, emerg. eff. June 5, 1998. Amended by Laws 2012, c. 220, § 2, eff. Nov. 1, 2012; Laws 2012, c. 229, § 2, emerg. eff. May 9, 2012.

          NOTE: Laws 2012, c. 220, § 2 and Laws 2012, c. 229, § 2 made identical changes to this section.