Regulatory Requirements Associated with Closure

Closure activities on non-federal lands are primarily regulated by the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission; pipeline construction on federal lands must follow the relevant requirements from the Bureau of Land Management.

State Requirements

Well closure is regulated by the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission (AOGC) through several AOGC rules.

  • Rule B-6 Oil, Gas and Water to be Protected

  • Rule B-7 When Wells Shall be Plugged and Abandoned and Notice of Intention to Plug and Abandon Wells

  • Rule B-8 Plugging Methods and Procedures

Prior to starting the plugging process, operators must file Form 11- Application to Plug. A representative of the AOGC will be onsite to witness the plugging and will complete a plugging record form.

Federal Requirements

When closing wells on federal lands, companies must follow the relevant requirements from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Gold Book and Onshore Oil and Gas Order No. 1.

Plugging

Before starting abandonment operations the operator must submit a Notice of Intent to Abandon, using Sundry Notices and Reports on Wells (Form 31605) and must obtain BLM approval for the plugging of the well. Within 30 days following completion of well plugging, the operator must file with the BLM a Subsequent Report of Plug and Abandon, using Sundry Notices and Reports on Wells (Form 31605).

Reclamation

Plans for surface reclamation are a part of the Surface Use Plan of Operations and must be designed to return the disturbed area to productive use and to meet the objectives of the land and resource management plan. Earthwork for interim and final reclamation must be completed within 6 months of well completion or well plugging (weather permitting). All pads, pits, and roads must be reclaimed to a satisfactorily revegetated, safe, and stable condition, unless an agreement is made with the landowner or the federal managing agency to keep the road or pad in place.

Upon completion of reclamation operations, the lessee or operator must notify the BLM or the Forest Service using Sundry Notices and Reports on Wells (Form 31605), Final Abandonment Notice, when the location is ready for inspection. Final abandonment will not be approved until the surface reclamation work has been completed to the satisfaction of the BLM or the FS and the federal managing agency, if appropriate.

Final abandonment of pipelines and flowlines will involve flushing and properly disposing of any fluids in the lines. All surface lines and any lines that are buried close to the surface that may become exposed, due to water or wind erosion, soil movement, or anticipated subsequent use, must be removed. Deeply buried lines may remain in place unless otherwise directed by the authorized officer.

See also Endangered Species Act (ESA) Provisions

DISCLAIMER
This regulatory information is provided as guidance to viewers. It should not be used as the sole source of information concerning the relevant and applicable regulatory requirements. Agency organization, laws and regulations, and Web linkages are subject to change. Therefore viewers are encouraged to check with the appropriate regulatory agencies for authorized up-to-date information.
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