What’s in a Well Name..

Have you ever wondered what the cryptic numbers are in the name of an Oil or Gas well?  Once you see how Sections of land are labeled, it starts to make sense.  The Sections of land are named using the Public Land Survey System (PLSS).  Here is a helpful article explaining the PLSS. There is a fair amount to it, so take a moment to read through, and get an understanding of the system.

Lets start with an example of a horizontal well.  Naming conventions vary from company to company, but for the most part some details about a well can be deduced from the name.

Say the well is named the Grassy Field 147-91-8-5-1H; Let’s decipher the different parts, starting with 147-91.  The 147 is the Township and it’s 147 x 6 miles North (or South) of the Baseline. The 91 is Range, indicating that it is 91 x 6 miles West (or East) of the Principle Meridian.  Those two numbers represent the 36 square mile ‘block’ that the well is in.


The second part ‘8-5’ normally describes where the lateral starts and ends.  this is sometimes referred to as the Spacing Unit (SU).  So in this case the lateral most likely begins in Section 8 and goes to the north into Section 5


If the name was instead Grassy Field 147-91-17-20-1H you could assume that the well ran in a Southern direction from Section 17 into section 20. The 1H part most likely identifies that it is the first well, and that it is (H) horizontal.

Some names don’t include the Township and Range, and may only include the Leaseholders Surname and the Section.  An example would be the Smith 36-25-A.

Use Caution when trying to decipher these names …. Sometimes a new owner takes over leases and bring their own naming system, but for the most part you can get a little bit of information from the name and figure out where the well goes.