A drainage unit is the subsurface area allocated to a vertical oil well completion or gas well completion for drilling and producing in order to maximize oil or gas recovery from a defined or miscellaneous pool. A drainage area is made up of the drainage units associated to a horizontal well completion based on set-back requirements. The Government of Saskatchewan's drainage unit/area and set-back requirements ensure long-term, equitable, and orderly development of resources while preventing reservoir damage.
In accordance with subsections 17(1)(a), (b) and (c) and section 27 of The Oil and Gas Conservation Act, an application for oil/gas well spacing modifications must be submitted and approved by the Minister of Energy and Resources before licensing a well completion that won't meet the well spacing minimum requirements. Typically, this occurs if additional wells are proposed within a drainage unit or if a well is being proposed that will not meet the setback requirements.
An application for well spacing modification can be made:
- for a single well completion;
- on a large scale, multiple well completions or lands;
- as a test of a spacing modification;
- to enlarge a drainage unit's size; or
- reduce the regulated setback distances.
Well spacing modifications approved by the Ministry of Energy and Resources are available on the Minister's Order Bulletin Board. All archived Minister's Orders since 2005 can also be found on the bulletin board.