Temporary Cessation of Production Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Temporary cessation of production doctrine is a principle applied in oil and gas law. It says that an oil and gas lease term will not terminate once production is attained unless the cessation of production is for an unreasonable length of time. Pursuant to this doctrine, once a plaintiff establishes that an oil and gas lease has halted production, the burden shifts to the defendant to prove that the cessation was temporary and not permanent. A temporary cessation in production will not trigger an automatic termination of the lease.

A cessation in production will only be deemed temporary when it is caused by a sudden stoppage of the well or a mechanical breakdown of the equipment used in connection with the well, or the like. The diligent lessee who takes immediate steps to rectify a sudden halt in production will not lose his or her investment, during such a temporary stoppage.[Somont Oil Co. v. A & G Drilling, Inc., 2006 MT 90 (Mont. 2006)]