The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has introduced new oil and gas well pad regulations that pertain to the construction of horizontal wells and dictate rules and practices for constructing the well pads for horizontal exploration efforts. Once finalized, the new regulations will be listed in Section 1501 of the Ohio Administrative Code.
About the New Oil and Gas Regulations
The new regulations include a number of rules and practices as they relate to well pad construction. Perhaps the most important rule requires companies to submit an application and get it approved before beginning construction on any well pad. The application will require contact details of the applicant, well site plans (names, signatures and companies), and geographic coordinates of the entrance of the site. The well site plans must be developed, signed and sealed by a professional engineer, and they must include detailed drawings of the actual site. Those drawings must cover 11 things, including the following:
· A general layout of the site
· A color orthorectified aerial image of the site
· The classified soil types
· Previously impacted lands
· All bodies of water within 200 feet of the site
· Risk and hazard zones
· Final disposal of materials that will result from construction, operations and plugging of the well
· Lease roads and emergency access routes
· Areas within the five-year time of travel connected with any supply of public drinking water
The application must also include a sediment and erosion control plan that takes into consideration the best practices for well construction and watershed boundaries, and applicants should include a description of any soil stabilization measures that will be utilized. Three more elements are required before an application is complete: a dust control plan that will identify any dust control measures that will be used, describe how and when they will be utilized, and offer a method and procedure for evaluating and documenting any complaints related to the plan; a geotechnical report that will describe the conditions, design and construction details of the well project and include soil borings, slope stability analysis, subsurface exploration data, and safety factors concerning bearing capacity and slope stability; and a storm water hydraulic report that will include documentation of the well’s hydraulic design for its pipes, ditches, conveyances, and other parts that will carry surface water within the site. The latter should also include design methods, supporting calculations showing the best management procedures, material specifications, and a demonstration of the storm water conveyance system’s capability.
Once all of these necessary requirements are submitted, the Chief has 10 days to certify the application’s completion. After it has been certified, there will be a physical review of the well site, and 30 days later the application will receive final approval. Only once written approval is received can construction on the well begin.
Moving Forward with the New Oil and Gas Well Pad Regulations
These new oil and gas well pad rules have been sent to the Common Sense Initiative (CSI), which will perform a business impact analysis on the new rules to evaluate how it will affect industry businesses and companies. The Ohio Oil and Gas Association has also sent comments regarding the new regulations to CSI, noting that the additional rules and application requirements will add significant time and expense to horizontal well construction across the board. Once the CSI has completed its analysis, the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review will analyze the rule package and determine if it conflicts with the current code or adversely impacts businesses.
More on Oil and Gas Well Pad Regulations
If you want to learn more about Ohio’s new oil and gas regulations on well pads and horizontal well construction or need more information on legislation or regulations that may affect your company or state specifically, contact MAH Energy Law today. Our team of industry experts can answer any questions you may have.