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Part 554: Drilling Practices and Reports

(Statutory authority: Environmental Conservation Law, §§ 23-0301, 23-0305[8])

[Effective date: May 1, 1972]

[page 1 of 1]

Contents:

Sec.

§554.1 Prevention of pollution and migration

(a) The drilling, casing and completion program adopted for any well shall be such as to prevent pollution.

(b) Pollution of the land and/or of surface or ground fresh water resulting from exploration or drilling is prohibited.

(c) (1) Prior to the issuance of a well-drilling permit for any operation in which the probability exists that brine, salt water or other polluting fluids will be produced or obtained during drilling operations in sufficient quantities to be deleterious to the surrounding environment, the operator must submit and receive approval for a plan for the environmentally safe and proper ultimate disposal of such fluids. For purposes of this subdivision, drilling muds are not considered to be polluting fluids. Before requesting a plan for disposal of such fluids, the department will take into consideration the known geology of the area, the sensitivity of the surrounding environment to the polluting fluids and the history of any other drilling operations in the area. Depending on the method of disposal chosen by the applicant, a permit for discharge and/or disposal may be required by the department in addition to the well-drilling permit. An applicant may also be required to submit an acceptable contingency plan, the use of which shall be required if the primary plan is unsafe or impracticable at the time of disposal.

(2) Brine or salt water may be temporarily stored prior to disposal in any watertight tank, container or an earthen pit which is underlaid by soil such as heavy clay or hardpan. Impounding of brine or salt water in an earthen pit is prohibited where the soil underlying the pit is porous and/or is closely underlaid by a gravel, rock or sand stratum unless the pit is lined with watertight material. The tank, container or earthen pit shall be constructed and maintained so as to prevent escape of any fluids therefrom, including any amounts that may be added by natural precipitation.

(3) Storage of brine, salt water or other polluting fluids in such watertight tanks or earthen pits, prior to disposal, shall be for a maximum of 45 days after cessation of drilling operations, unless the department approves an extension based on circumstances beyond the operator's control. The department may also approve an extension if the fluid is to be used in subsequent operations according to the submitted plan, and the department has inspected and approved the storage facilities.

(d) Except as hereinafter provided, sufficient surface casing shall be run in all wells to extend below the deepest potable fresh water level.

(e) The drilling, casing and completion program adopted for any well shall be such as to prevent the migration of oil, gas or other fluids from one pool or stratum to another.

(f) The drilling, casing and completion program adopted for any well shall be such as to exclude oil, gas or other fluids from any underground mining properties or rights and to protect them in accordance with prudent operations.

§554.2 Commencement of operations

The regional headquarters administering to the county in which the well is located shall be notified in writing or by telegram at or prior to the start of actual drilling operations.

§554.3 Cable tool drilling practices

(a) On all wells where cable tools are employed, the surface casing shall be tested by bailing to insure a shutoff before drilling below the casing point proceeds.

(b) Wellhead connections adequate to control blowouts will be employed.

(c) Any oil or gas encountered above the ultimate objective in sufficient quantities as to constitute a hazard or waste if permitted to escape must be shut off before drilling proceeds deeper. Shutoff may be accomplished either by mudding, cementation or by the running of a string of casing. The hole must be tested by bailing to insure shutoff before drilling is resumed.

§554.4 Rotary tool drilling practices

(a) On all wells where rotary tools are employed, and the subsurface formations and pressures to be encountered have been reasonably well established by prior drilling experience, the operator shall have the option of either running surface casing as provided in section 554.1(b) of this Part or of cementing the production casing from below the deepest potable fresh water level to the surface. In areas where the subsurface formations and pressures to be encountered are unknown or uncertain, surface casing shall be run as provided in section 554.1(b) of this Part.

(b) When surface casing is utilized, it shall be cemented by the pump and plug or displacement method with sufficient cement to circulate to the top of the hole. Drilling shall not be resumed until the cement has been permitted to set in accordance with prudent current industry practices.

(c) In areas where the subsurface formations and pressures have been reasonably well established by prior drilling experience, the use of blowout equipment shall be in accordance with the established local practice. In areas where the subsurface formations and pressures are unknown or uncertain, all rotary drilled wells shall be equipped with blowout equipment maintained in good working condition at all times as follows:

(1) a master gate valve or its equivalent;

(2) a blowout preventer;

(3) a flowline equipped with a shutoff valve of adequate size and working pressure.

(d) If it is elected to complete a rotary-drilled well and production casing is run, it shall be cemented by a pump and plug or displacement method with sufficient cement to circulate above the top of the completion zone to a height sufficient to prevent any movement of oil or gas or other fluids around the exterior of the production casing. In such instance, operations shall be suspended until the cement has been permitted to set in accordance with prudent current industry practices.

§554.5 Deviation

(a) The maximum point at which a well penetrates a producing formation shall not vary unreasonably from the vertical drawn from the center of the hole at the surface. Minor deviations will be permitted, however, without special permission for short distances, to straighten the hole, to sidetrack junk, or to correct other mechanical difficulties.

(b) If for any reason the department feels that a well has been deviated excessively, it shall have the right to require the operator to have a complete angular deviation and directional survey made in the well by an approved well surveying company and certified as to correctness at the operator's sole cost, risk and expense. In the event the survey reveals any unreasonable violations of the applicable well location or spacing regulations, the department may either require the excessively deviated well to be redrilled or to be plugged and abandoned at the option of the operator.

(c) Any owner or operator so desiring, also may petition the department for permission to have an angular deviation and directional survey made in any wells on leases or units offsetting the leases or units of the interested owner or operator. If after public hearing on the petition, the department feels the request is justified, and the petitioner has deposited good and sufficient security or bond, the department may issue an order authorizing the survey to be made by an approved well surveying company and certified as to correctness at the sole cost, risk and expense of the petitioner. In the event the survey reveals an unreasonable violation of the applicable well location or spacing requirements, the department then will assess all the costs of the survey to the violator and may either require any excessively deviated well to be redrilled or to be plugged and abandoned at the option of its operator.

(d) Controlled directional drilling also shall be permitted upon the approval of the department. Any operator desiring to intentionally deviate a well from the vertical shall first make written application to the department. The application, which shall be in addition to the permit application as provided in section 552.1, must contain the following information:

(1) names of the county, field or area, pool and lease and well number;

(2) description of the surface location and of the target bottomhole location in feet from the two nearest lease boundaries;

(3) reason for the proposed intentional deviation;

(4) names and addresses of the offsetting operators and a statement that each has been sent a copy of the application by registered mail, and the date of such mailing.

(e) The application must be accompanied by a neat, legible plat drawn to scale which shows the well, all offsetting leases and the wells located thereon, the pool in which they are completed, and the names of the offsetting operators.

(f) Concurrently with the filing with the department of the application to intentionally deviate the well, the applicant must send a copy of said application and accompanying plat or plats by registered mail to the operators of all leases or units offsetting the lease or unit on which the well is to be drilled.

(g) Upon receipt of the application to intentionally deviate the well, the department will hold same for 10 days. If within said 10-day period any offset operator reciting reasonable cause, shall file in writing with the department a protest to such intentional deviation, or if the department is not in accord with the proposed deviation, the application shall be scheduled for public hearing. If no objection from either an offset operator or the department is interposed within the 10-day period, and all other things being in order, the application shall be approved and written permission for the intentional deviation shall be issued by the department. The compulsory 10-day waiting period shall not be required if the application for permission to intentionally deviate the well is accompanied by the written consent of the operators of all leases or units offsetting the lease or unit containing the well proposed for deviation.

(h) Within 30 days after the completion of an intentionally deviated well, a complete angular deviation and directional survey of the well obtained by an approved well surveying company and certified as to correctness shall be filed with the department.

§554.6 Multiple completion

(a) It shall be unlawful for any owner or operator to commingle the production from two or more pools prior to the metering or measurement thereof unless specific permission for such commingling has been granted by the department. Said permission may be granted on an administrative basis or after public hearing at the discretion of the department.

(b) For any well in which a multiple completion has been effected, the completion report shall contain relevant supplemental information as specified in section 554.7 (c) of this Part.

(c) Upon request by the department, any well in which a multiple completion has been effected shall be tested at any reasonable time to demonstrate the effectiveness of the separation of the pools, such tests to be witnessed by representatives of the department and any offset operators so desiring.

§554.7 Completion reports, well logs and samples

(a) Within 30 days after the completion of any well, a completion report utilizing form OG10 shall be filed in triplicate by the owner or operator with the department summarizing thereon the completion details.

(b) Each copy of the completion report on form OG10 also shall be accompanied by a well log and such other information as the department may specifically require. The measurement datum for the well log and all other measurements in connection with the well shall be clearly specified. The well log also must show the elevation in feet of the measurement datum with respect to mean sea level.

(c) In the event a multiple completion has been effected in a well, each copy of the completion report on form OG10 also shall be accompanied by a diagrammatic sketch of the multiple completion installation and a written resume of the procedures and equipment employed in effecting the completion and testing to insure separation of the pools.

(d) The operator also may be required to provide up to two sets of bagged and labeled drill cutting samples upon request of the department. If these are to be required, the operator will be so advised at the time the permit on form OG9 is issued. The samples are to be washed unless the well is drilled with rotary tools using air or gas as to the drilling fluid.

(e) If so requested by the owner or operator, the information contained in the completion report and well log and the drill cutting samples shall be only for the confidential use of the department and the Geological Survey of the State Museum and Science Service of the New York State Department of Education until one year after the date of commencement of operations for the well so involved. Upon receipt of successive petitions from the owner or operator, and the demonstration of continued sufficient good cause, the confidential period may be extended for one or more additional periods of one year in length up to a maximum total confidential period of five years.

§554.8 Applicability to other operation

In addition to being applicable to newly drilled wells, the applicable provisions of all of the foregoing sections of Part 554 shall be in effect for all deepening, plug back and conversion operations except for deepening or plug back operations to be conducted exclusively within the producing horizon of a pool and for which no application for permit under section 552.1 shall have been required.