Can someone drill a well on the property next to me and drain oil or gas from under my property without my consent?
The simple answer is "maybe", but then only if the adjacent well is properly permitted and spaced according to the requirements of the Division of Oil and Gas. The rules limit the number of wells that can be drilled per acre and also how close a well may be drilled to another producing from the same formation. They also limit the distance that a well can be drilled to an adjacent unleased property. The limits have been established taking into consideration the following factors: 1) the type of well (oil or gas); 2) the formation into which the well is to be completed (sandstone, limestone, shale, coal seam, etc.); and 3) the distance from the proposed well to an existing well on an adjacent lease that is producing from the same formation.
To view the specific drilling unit and spacing rules, click on the following link and look for the drilling unit and spacing rules at 312 IAC and 16-5-2: http://www.in.gov/legislative/iac/T03120/A00160.PDF
While the spacing and drilling unit requirements are intended to reduce the likelihood that a well will not unreasonably drain oil or gas from an adjacent unleased property, there is no guarantee that off-site drainage will not occur. However, the requirements do establish a reasonable, predictable, and orderly manner for adjacent oil and gas operators to simultaneously produce oil or gas from within the same pool in a manner which balances the drainage between the two operators.
The potential does exist that even if a well is properly spaced, at some point in its life it might begin to drain oil or gas from an adjacent property that is not also being simultaneously produced. The best way to ensure that unequal drainage of oil or gas does not occur is for the adjacent owner to drill offset wells on their own property