The difference in allocation vs vertical wells

Understanding the differences and percentage variations

The energy industry has many complex aspects, and when it comes to drilling techniques, understanding the difference between an allocation well and a vertical well can be critical. These two types of wells represent different methodologies for extracting oil and gas, with specific applications, benefits, and drawbacks. The allocation percentages associated with these wells also differ, reflecting their distinct operational features.

Allocation Wells

An allocation well is a horizontal well that is drilled across multiple lease boundaries or units. These wells are designed to exploit a broader range of oil and gas deposits without the need to drill multiple vertical wells. Allocation wells are commonly used in unconventional reservoirs where a more complex approach is needed to tap into the resource efficiently.

Allocation Percentages in Allocation Wells

The percentages in allocation wells represent the division of production between different leases or units. These percentages are generally determined by the length of the horizontal well within each lease or unit boundary and might be negotiated by the involved parties. Allocation percentages must be carefully calculated and agreed upon to ensure fair distribution among the various leaseholders or interest owners.

Vertical Wells

A vertical well is drilled straight down into the earth, targeting a specific oil and gas reservoir. This traditional drilling method is typically used when the desired resource is located directly beneath the surface location of the well.

Allocation Percentages in Vertical Wells

In vertical wells, allocation percentages are typically straightforward, as the well is located within a single lease or unit. The revenue is then distributed according to the ownership interest in that specific lease or unit. The calculation here is usually more straightforward compared to an allocation well, where horizontal drilling may cross several boundaries.

Key Differences and Considerations

  1. Drilling Technique: While vertical wells go straight down, allocation wells use horizontal drilling to cross multiple boundaries.
  2. Efficiency: Allocation wells can cover larger areas and access reservoirs that might be challenging for vertical wells, often making them more efficient in unconventional plays.
  3. Complexity of Percentages: Allocation wells require careful calculation of percentages based on the well’s path through multiple leases or units. Vertical wells typically involve simpler percentage calculations.
  4. Regulatory Considerations: Allocation wells may involve more complex legal and regulatory requirements, as they cross different lease boundaries.
  5. Cost: Allocation wells are often more expensive to drill due to their complexity, but they may lead to increased production, justifying the additional investment.


Allocation and vertical wells are vital tools in the oil and gas industry, each with its own unique applications and complexities. The percentage calculations for these wells reflect their respective operational characteristics, with allocation wells necessitating more intricate distribution agreements.

Understanding these differences is essential for anyone involved in the energy industry, whether they’re an investor, operator, or mineral owner. Proper planning, collaboration, and adherence to regulatory guidelines are key to maximizing the benefits of both allocation and vertical wells while ensuring fair and transparent revenue distribution.

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The information provided by Valor in this blog is for general informational purposes only, not to provide specific recommendations or legal or tax-related advice. The blog/website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

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