§22C-9-1. Declaration of public policy; legislative findings.
(a) It is hereby declared to be the public policy of this state and in the public interest to:
(1) Foster, encourage, and promote exploration for and development, production, utilization, and conservation of oil and gas resources;
(2) Prohibit waste of oil and gas resources and unnecessary surface loss of oil and gas and their constituents;
(3) Encourage the maximum recovery of oil and gas;
(4) Safeguard, protect, and enforce the correlative rights of operators and royalty owners in a pool of oil or gas to the end that each such operator and royalty owner may obtain his or her just and equitable share of production from that pool, unit or unconventional reservoir of oil or gas; and
(5) Safeguard, protect, and enforce the property rights and interests of surface owners and the owners and agricultural users of other interests in the land.
(b) The Legislature hereby determines and finds that oil and natural gas found in West Virginia in shallow sands or strata have been produced continuously for more than 100 years; that oil and gas deposits in shallow sands or strata have geological and other characteristics different than those found in deeper formations and unconventional reservoirs; and that in order to encourage the maximum recovery of oil and gas from all productive formations in this state, it is not in the public interest, with the exception of shallow wells utilized in a secondary recovery program, to enact statutory provisions relating to the exploration for or production of oil and gas from vertical shallow wells, but that it is in the public interest to enact statutory provisions establishing regulatory procedures and principles to be applied to the exploration for or production of oil and gas from deep wells, as defined in section two and oil and gas produced from horizontal wells.