For the purpose of more properly conserving the natural resources of any geothermal reservoir, field, or like area, or any part thereof (whether or not any part of the geothermal reservoir, field, or like area, is subject to any cooperative plan of development or operation (referred to in this section as a “unit agreement”)), lessees thereof and their representatives may unite with each other, or jointly or separately with others, in collectively adopting and operating under a unit agreement for the reservoir, field, or like area, or any part thereof, including direct use resources, if determined and certified by the Secretary to be necessary or advisable in the public interest.
A majority interest of owners of any single lease shall have the authority to commit the lease to a unit agreement.
The Secretary may also initiate the formation of a unit agreement, or require an existing Federal lease to commit to a unit agreement, if in the public interest.
The Secretary may, in the discretion of the Secretary and with the consent of the holders of leases involved, establish, alter, change, or revoke rates of operations (including drilling, operations, production, and other requirements) of the leases and make conditions with respect to the leases, with the consent of the lessees, in connection with the creation and operation of any such unit agreement as the Secretary may consider necessary or advisable to secure the protection of the public interest.
The Secretary may require that any unit agreement authorized by this section that applies to land owned by the United States contain a provision under which authority is vested in the Secretary, or any person, committee, or State or Federal officer or agency as may be designated in the unit agreement to alter or modify, from time to time, the rate of prospecting and development and the quantity and rate of production under the unit agreement.
Any land eliminated under this subsection shall be eligible for an extension under section 1005(g) of this title if the land meets the requirements for the extension.
The Secretary may, on such conditions as the Secretary may prescribe, approve drilling or development contracts made by one or more lessees of geothermal leases, with one or more persons, associations, or corporations if, in the discretion of the Secretary, the conservation of natural resources or the public convenience or necessity may require or the interests of the United States may be best served by the approval.
Each lease operated under an approved drilling or development contract, and interest under the contract, shall be excepted in determining holdings or control under section 1006 of this title.
The Secretary shall coordinate unitization and pooling activities with appropriate State agencies.