Regulatory Requirements Associated with Well Preparation

Well preparation activities on non-federal lands are regulated by the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission; activities on federal lands must follow the relevant requirements of the Bureau of Land Management. Activities related to obtaining water supplies for frac jobs are regulated by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission.

State Requirements – Well Preparation

Well preparation activities on non-federal lands is primarily regulated by the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission (AOGC) through a series of AOGC rules.

  • Rule B-5 – Submission of Well Records and Issuance of Certificate of Compliance

  • Rule B-14 – Surface Equipment

  • Rule B-18 – Wellhead Fittings

  • Rule B-23 – Tubing

  • Rule B-24 – Chokes

  • Rule B-32 – Vacuum Pumps Prohibited

  • Rule B-37 – Dual Completion of Wells

To comply with Rule B-5, operators must file Form 3 – Producer's Well Completion and Recompletion Report and Form 4 – Request for Certificate of Compliance.

State Requirements – Obtaining Water Supply for Frac Fluids

The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) regulates surface water withdrawal and use. Any person or entity proposing to divert surface water for non-riparian use (including for hydraulic fracturing) is required to submit an application for use. A Non-Riparian Permit authorizes the use of excess surface water for activities on land that is not contiguous to surface water. Before issuing a permit, the ANRC determines that: the water to be used is excess surface water, the water is intended for a reasonable and beneficial use, and diversion of water will cause no significant adverse environmental impact. Operators who withdraw surface water must file a report indicating the amount of surface water that was withdrawn during the previous year.

Operators must file an application form and pay an application fee.

The ANRC regulations for utilization of surface water are found in Title III.

The ANRC also regulates groundwater withdrawal from wells having a maximum potential flow rate of less than 50,000 gallons a day. The quantity, location, type of use and name of user must be registered with the ANRC on an annual basis.

If operators construct dams to create impoundments for storing water, they must follow the ANRC rules in Title VII. Dams are exempted from the Title VII requirements if they have a height less than 25 feet, normal storage less than 50 acre-feet, or crest elevations below the ordinary high water mark of the stream at that location.

Federal Requirements – Well Preparation

When well preparation occurs on federal lands, companies must follow the relevant requirements from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Gold Book. and Onshore Order No. 1.

A Well Completion or Recompletion Report and Log, Form 3160-4, is required to be filed within 30 days after completion of a well. The well completion report must reflect the mechanical and physical condition of the well. Geologic information and information on the completed interval and production (when applicable) are required.

Operations such as routine fracturing or acidizing jobs or recompletion in the same interval, do not require prior approval if such operations do not involve additional surface disturbance and conform to standards of prudent operating practice. However, a subsequent report of operations must be filed for these operations. No prior approval or subsequent report is required for operations such as well cleanout or routine operations. The required form for obtaining approval or reporting subsequent operations is Sundry Notices and Reports on Wells (Form 3160-5).

Federal Requirements – Obtaining Water Supply for Frac Fluids

Onshore Oil and Gas Order No. 1 requires operators to describe their water supply and how the water will be transported to the site as part of the Surface Use Plan of Operations.

If streams are dammed or diverted to create water supply ponds, or if other construction activities lead to dredging or filling of surface water bodies, companies must follow the requirements of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Two examples of the requirements are shown below. Most of the Fayetteville Shale region falls within the jurisdiction of the Little Rock District, however, some portions may cross over into adjacent districts

Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 requires approval prior to the accomplishment of any work in or over navigable waters of the United States, or which affects the course, location, condition or capacity of such waters. Typical activities requiring Section 10 permits are:

  • Construction of piers, wharves, bulkheads, dolphins, marinas, ramps, floats, intake structures, and cable or pipeline crossings

  • Dredging and excavation

Section 404 of the Clean Water Act requires approval prior to discharging dredged or fill material into the waters of the United States. Typical activities requiring Section 404 permits are:

  • Mechanically clearing, leveling or other filling in wetlands.

  • Site development fill for residential, commercial, or recreational developments.

  • Construction of revetments, groins, breakwaters, levees, dams, dikes, and weirs.

  • Placement of riprap and road fills.

See also Endangered Species Act (ESA) Provisions

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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