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Well Ownership Responsibilities

If you acquire, own or operate a natural gas or oil well, you are legally responsible for meeting the following state regulatory requirements:

  • Comply with the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law and Regulations and operate the well in a safe and environmentally responsible manner (Environmental Conservation Law Article 23 and 6 NYCRR Parts 550 - 559),
  • Submit all required paperwork, as described below,
  • Properly dispose of brine and other waste products from the well,
  • Properly handle any oil the well produces,
  • Plug the well when extraction is complete, unless DEC approves transfer of the plugging responsibility to another party. (A landowner well cannot be shut-in, or not producing, for more than one year without being plugged, or obtaining written department approval for an extension.) and,
  • Inform yourself of taxes and any applicable local fire codes.

Plugging a Well

Plugging a well is not a do-it-yourself job. You must use a plugging contractor registered with the Division of Mineral Resources, and you must apply for a plugging permit. There is no fee for the permit.

It generally costs between $3,000 and $7,500 to plug a well. However, if a well has been poorly maintained, it may cost much more to plug it.


More about Well Ownership Responsibilities:

  • Financial Security - Well owners must maintain sufficient financial security to ensure well plugging and surface restoration.
  • Well Plugging - A well may be permanently plugged and abandoned by an owner's decision or required by applicable state regulation. A Plugging Permit must be obtained prior to commencing work.
  • Required Reports - Reports to DEC by well owners form the basis of the Department's program to maintain compliance with the Oil, Gas and Solution Salt Mining Law.
  • Well Transfer - A well owner proposing to transfer the legal ownership of a well must notify the Department of the identity of the new owner on a Department-approved form.
  • Shut-In or Temporary Abandonment - Shut-In or Temporary Abandonment Well Form for the Division of Mineral Resources.
  • Organizational Report - Division of Mineral Resources - All owners of wells regulated by the Division of Mineral resources are required to file an Organizational Report.
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  • NYSDEC
    Division of Mineral Resources
    625 Broadway
    3rd Floor
    Albany NY 12233-6500
    518-402-8056
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