§22C-9-2. Definitions.

(a) As used in this article:

(1) "Commission" means the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and "commissioner" means the Oil and Gas Conservation Commissioner as provided for in section four of this article;

(2) "Director" means the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection and "chief" means the Chief of the Office of Oil and Gas;

(3) "Person" means any natural person, corporation, partnership, receiver, trustee, executor, administrator, guardian, fiduciary or other representative of any kind, and includes any government or any political subdivision or any agency thereof;

(4) "Operator" means any owner of the right to develop, operate and produce oil and gas from a pool and to appropriate the oil and gas produced therefrom, either for that person or for that person and others; in the event that there is no oil and gas lease in existence with respect to the tract in question, the owner of the oil and gas rights therein is the "operator" to the extent of seven-eighths of the oil and gas in that portion of the pool underlying the tract owned by such owner, and as "royalty owner' as to one-eighth interest in such oil and gas; and in the event the oil is owned separately from the gas, the owner of the substance being produced or sought to be produced from the pool is the "operator" as to that pool;

(5) "Royalty owner" means any owner of oil and gas in place, or oil and gas rights, to the extent that the owner is not an operator as defined in subdivision (4) of this section;

(6) "Independent producer" means a producer of crude oil or natural gas whose allowance for depletion is determined under Section 613A of the federal Internal Revenue Code in effect on July 1, 1997;

(7) "Oil" means natural crude oil or petroleum and other hydrocarbons, regardless of gravity, which are produced at the well in liquid form by ordinary production methods and which are not the result of condensation of gas after it leaves the underground reservoir;

(8) "Gas" means all natural gas and all other fluid hydrocarbons not defined as oil in subdivision (7) of this section;

(9) "Pool" means an underground accumulation of petroleum or gas in a single and separate reservoir (ordinarily a porous sandstone or limestone). It is characterized by a single natural-pressure system so that production of petroleum or gas from one part of the pool affects the reservoir pressure throughout its extent. A pool is bounded by geologic barriers in all directions, such as geologic structural conditions, impermeable strata, and water in the formations, so that it is effectively separated from any other pools that may be presented in the same district or on the same geologic structure;

(10) "Well" means any shaft or hole sunk, drilled, bored or dug into the earth or underground strata for the extraction of oil or gas;

(11) "Shallow well" means any well other than a coalbed methane well, drilled no deeper than one hundred feet below the top of the "Onondaga Group": Provided, That in no event may the "Onondaga Group" formation or any formation below the "Onondaga Group" be produced, perforated or stimulated in any manner;

(12) "Deep well" means any well, other than a shallow well or coalbed methane well, drilled to a formation below the top of the uppermost member of the "Onondaga Group;"

(13) "Drilling unit" means the acreage on which one well may be drilled;

(14) "Waste" means and includes:

(A) Physical waste, as that term is generally understood in the oil and gas industry;

(B) The locating, drilling, equipping, operating or producing of any oil or gas well in a manner that causes, or tends to cause, a reduction in the quantity of oil or gas ultimately recoverable from a pool under prudent and proper operations, or that causes or tends to cause unnecessary or excessive surface loss of oil or gas; or

(C) The drilling of more deep wells than are reasonably required to recover efficiently and economically the maximum amount of oil and gas from a pool. Waste does not include gas vented or released from any mine areas as defined in section two, article one, chapter twenty-two-a of this code or from adjacent coal seams which are the subject of a current permit issued under article two of chapter twenty-two-a of this code: Provided, That this exclusion does not address ownership of the gas;

(15) "Correlative rights" means the reasonable opportunity of each person entitled thereto to recover and receive without waste the oil and gas in and under his tract or tracts, or the equivalent thereof; and

(16) "Just and equitable share of production" means, as to each person, an amount of oil or gas or both substantially equal to the amount of recoverable oil and gas in that part of a pool underlying the person's tract or tracts.

(b) Unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the use of the word "and" and the word "or" are interchangeable, as, for example, "oil and gas" means oil or gas or both."