Chapter 1501:9-11 Plugging of Wells

1501:9-11-01 Definitions.

(A) "Chief" means chief, of the Division of Mineral Resources Management or his/her authorized representative.

(B) "Oil and Gas" means crude oil or natural gas or both.

(C) "Division" means Division of Mineral Resources Management, department of natural resources.

(D) "Reservoir rock" means a body of rock sufficiently porous to permit the accumulation of water, petroleum, natural gas or other fluids.

(E) "Inspector" means any supervisor, or inspector employed by the division, or any other representative authorized by the chief.

(F) "Fresh water strata" means all unconsolidated rock material or sedimentary rock containing water with less than ten thousand milligrams per liter total of dissolved solids.

(G) "Casing" means lengths of steel pipe, coupled or connected together to form a continuous conduit in the well bore.

(H) "Conductor pipe" means steel casing, either driven or set through the soil, and/or unconsolidated rock materials and into bedrock for the purpose of isolating near surface water, and such unconsolidated rock materials from the well bore.

(I) "Surface casing" means any casing placed in the well bore for the purpose of protecting fresh water strata and other reservoir rock, and/or for the prevention of the invasion of fresh water into the well bore.

(J) "Intermediate string" means any casing placed in the well bore after the surface casing but before the long string for operational reasons.

(K) "Long string" means any casing placed in the well bore for the purpose of protecting the producing zones.

(L) "Drilling Mud" means any mixture of water, bentonite, and/or clay to form a slurry as commonly used in the oil and gas industry.

(M) "Cement" means a complex, finely-ground kiln-fired calcium silicate which, when mixed with water, forms a slurry which will harden in the borehole to form an effective seal between the well bore and casing or tubing, or to effectively seal formations penetrated by the well bore.

(N) "Prepared clay" means a commercially processed, finely ground composite extracted from, a Pennsylvanian underclay, Pleistocene glacial clay or other materials as approved by the chief. The chief shall establish standards and conduct tests as necessary to identify approved sources of prepared clay.

(O) "Sulfate resistant cement" means a cement-additive blend that resists deterioration in the presence of hydrogen sulfide.

(P) "Rat hole" means a shallow hole into which the kelly and swivel are placed when hoisting operations are in progress.

(Q) "Mouse hole" means a shallow hole into which a length of drill pipe is placed temporarily for later connection to drill string.

(R) "Precast concrete plug" means a tapered plug, constructed of concrete and precast in various sizes, expressly for creating a bridge on a casing seat or ripped casing.

(S) "Mechanical" bridge means a manufactured device designed to seal the well bore or inside diameter of various sizes of casing that may be used as a base for approved plugging material.

(T) "Brush and stone bridge" means an obstruction, made of timber and stone, and placed in a well bore to form an effective base for plugging material.

(U) "Identification tag" means brass or steel plate with the initials ODNR, and the permit number legibly braised, burned or stamped in the surface, and affixed on top of the casing.

(V) "Big lime" means all rock units above the Silurian Rochester Shale and below the Devonian Olentangy Shale.

(W) "Brine" means all saline geological formation water resulting, obtained, or produced in connection with the exploration, drilling, or production of oil or gas.

(X) "Squeeze" means the pumping of a cement slurry under pressure through perforations to seal the back side of casing.

(Y) "Mineable coal seam" means any underground coal seam, of sufficient thickness, that may be economically mined by current mining methods.

HISTORY: Replaces: 4101:10-1-01;Eff 1-22-75; 7-16-82; 8-9-93; 4-15-04

Rule promulgated under: RC 119.03

Rule authorized by: RC 1509.03

Rule amplifies: RC 1509.15

RC 119.032 review dates: 9/16/03, 1/27/04, 4/15/09

1501:9-11-02 Permit to plug.

(A) Each application for a permit to plug and abandon a well shall include: an affidavit attesting that the owner of his authorized agent has notified in writing the owner of the land upon which the well is located, of his intention to abandon the well, and of the approximate date when he will commence plugging operations.

(B) The division will provide electronic access created in the normal course of business to all underground mine owners in the state providing notice of applications to plug that have been filed with the division and permits to plug that have been issued by the division.

(C) To encourage plugging of all applicable wells in accordance with standards established by the Federal (MSHA)(Mine Safety Health Administration), the coal owner may contact the well owner to coordinate plugging of a well in a manner that will protect miner safety and minimize the need to drill out and re-plug a well in the future. The coal owner will bear all incremental costs of plugging pursuant to these "Standards". The coal owner shall make every reasonable effort to facilitate the coordination to avoid any delay in the scheduling of the plugging by the owner.

(D) The permit or a true copy thereof shall be available at the well site at all times during which plugging and abandonment operations are taking place. A permit issued pursuant to these rules is not transferable. It may be reissued as a new permit to a successor owner.

(E) Expiration of plugging permit:

(1) Once a permit to plug and abandon has been issued pursuant to this rule, actual plugging of the well authorized by the permit shall be commenced within twelve month period of the date of issuance of such permit or the permit shall expire; if plugging is commenced but not completed within said twelve month period, plugging shall be continued with due diligence following the twelve month period or the permit shall expire.

Eff 1-22-75; 7-16-82; 8-9-93; 4-15-04
Rule promulgated under: RC 119.03
Rule authorized by: RC 1509.03
Rule amplifies: RC 1509.13
RC 119.032 review dates: 9/16/03, 4/15/09

1501:9-11-03 Objective and methods.

(A) A dry hole, lost hole, abandoned oil and gas well, abandoned brine disposal well, abandoned well used to inject fluids for the enhanced recovery of oil or gas, abandoned well used to store hydrocarbons, and all wells plugged back in order to produce from or inject into or extract fluids from a more shallow formation and abandoned well used for solution mining of minerals shall be plugged in such a manner that oil, gas, water, or other fluids shall be confined to the reservoir rock in which it occurs or originates.

(B) The owner, or his agent, may have the option of using any method of emplacing the plugging material approved by the chief but not limited to dump bailer, bullhead, pumping through tubing, casing or drill pipe.

(C) In the abandonment and plugging of wells located in congested areas or other areas designated by the chief, where the approved plugging methods cannot be applied or, if applied, would be ineffective in carrying out the protection which the law is meant to give, the chief may designate an alternate method of plugging. He may also require the installation of casing and vent pipe to provide additional safety to the surrounding area. The plugging report, on a form provided by the division, shall show the manner in which the well was plugged.

(D) The chief shall take all necessary precautions to ensure protection of public health and safety from the hazards that may be encountered during plugging operations.

(E) The chief may order the immediate suspension of plugging activities after finding that any person is causing, engaging in or maintaining a condition or activity that in the chief's judgment presents an imminent danger to public health or safety, or results in or is likely to result in immediate substantial damage to natural resources.

Eff 7-16-82; 8-9-93; 4-15-04
Rule promulgated under: RC 119.03
Rule authorized by: RC 1509.03
Rule amplifies: RC 1509.15
RC 119.032 review dates: 9/16/03, 1/27/04, 4/15/09

1501:9-11-04 Notification and supervision.

Each plugging operation shall be conducted under the supervision of an inspector. The well owner or his authorized agent shall notify the inspector when plugging operations will commence at a dry hole or lost hole in sufficient time to enable the inspector to be present. For all other wells, the owner or his authorized agent shall notify the inspector a minimum of twenty-four hours prior to commencement of plugging operations. The chief may grant verbal authorization to the owner to commence plugging operations when the inspector is unable to be present in accordance with the provisions in sections 1509.13 and 1509.14 of the Revised Code.

Eff 7-16-82; 8-9-93; 4-15-04
Rule promulgated under: RC 119.03
Rule authorized by: RC 1509.03
Rule amplifies: RC 1509.13
RC 119.032 review dates: 9/16/03, 1/27/04, 4/15/09

1501:9-11-05 Commencement.

(A) Plugging operations on a dry hole or lost hole shall commence immediately upon abandonment of the hole. A lost hole shall be considered abandoned when the decision has been made that completion of the well is not feasible. Such well shall be plugged prior to the skidding of the drilling rig to an alternative location. A dry hole shall be considered abandoned when the decision has been made not to complete the well. Exceptions may be granted by oral or written permission of the chief.

(B) Prior to commencement of plugging operations for a dry hole or lost hole, the owner, or his authorized agent, shall furnish the inspector with a record of the depth of the top and the base of formations penetrated during the drilling of the well, the depths where oil, gas or water were encountered, and a record of any casing present in the well. If reasonably available, the information furnished shall include a copy of the geophysical, electrical, or mechanical log and/ or the drilling contractors report. Based on the furnished information the inspector shall approve a plugging program in accordance with rules 1501:9-11-01 to 1501-9-11-13 of the Administrative Code and plug emplacement methods and plugging materials approved by the chief. When no records are available, the owner, or his agent, shall make every reasonable effort to obtain sufficient formation and casing data on the well, to assist the inspector in determining the plugging procedure. Exceptions may be granted at the discretion of the chief.

(C) Plugging operations on each abandoned oil and gas well, abandoned brine disposal well, abandoned well used to inject fluids for the enhanced recovery of oil or gas, and abandoned well used to store hydrocarbons and all wells plugged back in order to inject into or extract fluids from a more shallow formation and abandoned well used for solution mining of minerals must commence without undue delay after production, extraction, or injection operations have ceased and shall proceed with due diligence until completed. Exceptions may be granted by oral or written permission of the chief.

Replaces: 4101:10-1-03, 4101:10-1-04; Eff 7-16-82; 8-9-93; 4-15-04
Rule promulgated under: RC 119.03
Rule authorized by: RC 1509.03
Rule amplifies: RC 1509.13
RC 119.032 review dates: 9/16/03, 1/27/04, 4/15/09

1501:9-11-06 Pulling of conductor pipe and surface casing.

(A) In order to protect the fresh water strata and to prevent surface subsidence, no conductor pipe, driven or set during the drilling of a cable tool well, or surface casing if the conductor pipe is not in place, shall be pulled from the well.

(B) Prior to pulling surface casing from a cable tool drilled well, all free crude oil and brine shall be removed from inside the production borehole.

Eff 7-16-82; 8-9-93; 4-15-04
Rule promulgated under: RC 119.03
Rule authorized by: RC 1509.03
Rule amplifies: RC 1509.15
RC 119.032 review dates: 9/16/03, 1/27/04, 4/15/09

1501:9-11-07 Materials.

(A) A well shall be plugged with cement, prepared clay, or any other material approved by the chief. A rotary drilled hole shall be plugged with cement unless otherwise approved by the division. The owner or his agent may have the option of using either prepared clay or cement to plug a cable tool drilled hole.

(1) All Class II saltwater injection, enhanced recovery and Class III solution mining wells must be plugged with cement.

(B) Cement shall meet commonly accepted industry standards for portland cement. Cement blends must be able to attain a minimum compressive strength of five hundred pounds per square inch after twenty-four hours when tested in accordance commonly accepted industry standards. If pozzalan cement mixtures are used, pozzalanic materials may not exceed fifty per cent by volume of a cement blend. A well that yields hydrogen sulfide must be plugged with sulfate-resistant cement. Inspectors may approve the use of a nine-sack grout.

The chief will evaluate sources of prepared clay to determine whether they satisfy division standards. The chief shall approve prepared clay sources based upon an annual test demonstrating that the material has a clay content of not less than 40 percent and a sand or greater size content not exceeding 30 percent. For purposes of this evaluation, clay shall be considered any material with a particle size of 4.0 microns or less, and the sand fraction will be considered all particles with a grain size exceeding 62.5 microns. The division will collect a composite sample of material from the clay seam, stockpile or bagged product that is deemed representative of the source material. The division will seal, label, and deliver the sample to a qualified laboratory for testing. Upon receipt of the analysis, the division will inform the owner whether the sample meets applicable standards and provide a copy of the analysis. In addition to meeting the grain size standards, the owner of an approved operation must process the material and store the material in a dry condition for delivery. The division will maintain and update the list of approved prepared clay sources at least annually.

(C) No substance of any nature or description other than that normally used in plugging operations in accordance with the acceptable industry standard shall be placed in any well at any time during the plugging operations.

Replaces: 4101:10-1-03, 4101:10-1-04, 4101:10-1-05; Eff 7-16-82; 8-9-93; 4-15-04
Rule promulgated under: RC 119.03
Rule authorized by: RC 1509.03
Rule amplifies: RC 1509.15
RC 119.032 review dates: 9/16/03, 1/27/04, 4/15/09

1501:9-11-08 Plugging with cement.

(A) For all wells plugged with cement, plugs shall be placed in the following intervals:

(1) From total depth or a minimum of fifty feet below the base of the lowest reservoir rock penetrated to a minimum of two hundred feet above the top of the lowest reservoir rock penetrated. With approval of the chief the owner may have the option to plug the lowest reservoir with prepared clay or other materials. If prepared clay is approved by the chief for the bottom hole plug, the plug shall be emplaced from total depth to a minimum of five-hundred feet above the top of the lowest reservoir rock penetrated or perforated. Prior to placing the clay, tools must be run tot total depth to ensure the well bore is clear of obstructions. If an obstruction is found, the well bore must be cleared prior to the placement of the clay.

(2) From minimum of fifty feet below the base to a minimum of one hundred feet above the top of each succeeding reservoir rock formation until the plugging operation has been completed to within a minimum of one hundred feet of the bottom of the surface casing. Exceptions may be granted by the chief.

(3) From a minimum of one hundred fifty feet below the top of the big lime to the top of the big lime. Exceptions to this rule may be granted by the chief.

(4) From a minimum of one hundred feet below to a minimum of one hundred feet above the base of the surface casing.

(5) If the surface casing of a cable tool well has been removed, leaving the fresh water strata unprotected, a cement plug shall be placed from a minimum of fifty feet below the base of the fresh water strata to thirty inches below grade level.

(6) Where the coal owner identifies that a economic mineable coal seam or active underground mine may be affected, a bridge shall be placed in the well bore a minimum of two hundred feet below the mineable coal seam, and the well bore shall be filled with an approved material from the top of such bridge to within a minimum of thirty inches of the grade level. The owner and the coal owner will make reasonable efforts to coordinate plugging to minimize any potential adverse effect and/or future re-plugging of the well.

(7) From a minimum of one hundred feet below the grade level to thirty inches below grade level.

(B) Placement of cement plugs shall be accomplished by one of the following methods: the balance method, the dump-bailer method, a pump-and-plug method, or any other method approved by the chief.

(C) Where necessary to prevent thieving of cement, drilling mud weighing not less than nine pounds per gallon and with not less than forty "American Petroleum Institute" funnel viscosity may be required in all portions of the well not filled with cement or other approved plugging material, unless otherwise approved by the chief.

(D) Cement plugs shall not be circulated into holes where static conditions cannot be reached.

(E) If during the plugging operation, circulation is lost due to the presence of a highly porous and permeable rock formation, it is permissible to place a mechanical bridge or to pump or place any material approved by the chief across the porous zone in order to provide a base on which to place a cement plug not less than two hundred feet in length above the top of such formation.

(F) During plugging, a good fait effort must be made to recover all casing which is not cemented, excluding conductor pipe.

(G) In the event that it is determined by the inspector that borehole conditions render compliance with the above plugging procedures impossible or impractical or if it is determined by the inspector that the above procedures will not fulfill the requirements as set forth under paragraph (A) of rule 1501:9-11-03 of the Administrative Code, then the inspector may designate an alternate thickness and method of emplacement of the plugs, and/or the approved plugging material to insure compliance with paragraph (A) of rule 1501:9-11-03 of the Administrative Code. The inspector may also require or approve the placing of brush and stone bridges, and/or mechanical bridges in the well bore or casings, when in his judgement, such bridges will be necessary to insure that the plugging material placed in the well remains at the point in the well where such material had been placed.

(H) In order to promote enhanced recovery, including but not limited to secondary and tertiary operations, the chief may require special plugging conditions.

Replaces: 4101:10-1-03, 4101:10-1-04, 4101:10-1-05; Eff 7-16-82; 9-27-93; 4-15-04
Rule promulgated under: RC 119.03
Rule authorized by: RC 1509.03
Rule amplifies: RC 1509.15
RC 119.032 review dates: 9/16/03, 1/27/04, 4/15/09

1501:9-11-09 Plugging with prepared clay.

(A) For all wells plugged with prepared clay, a clay slurry shall be placed in the following intervals in the well bore:

(1) From total depth to a minimum of five hundred feet above the top of the lowest reservoir rock penetrated or perforated.

(2) From a minimum of fifty feet below the base of each succeeding reservoir rock formation to a minimum of two hundred feet above the top of such formation, until the plugging operation has been completed to within a minimum of one hundred feet of the bottom of the surface casing.

(3) From approximately fifty feet below the base of the fresh water strata to a minimum of thirty inches below the grade level.

(4) A bridge shall be placed in the well bore a minimum of two hundred feet below the coal seam, and the well bore shall be filled with an approved material from the top of such bridge to within a minimum of thirty inches below the grade level.

(B) During the plugging operation a good faith effort must be made to recover all, casing which is not cemented, excluding conductor pipe. When a string of casing has been withdrawn by either removing the casing above the casing seat, or by parting the casing string, an approved precast concrete plug may be lowered in place either on the casing seat or on the parted casing point to serve as a base for a prepared clay plug. If the surface casing is parted during the pulling operation, and cannot be recovered or removed, the well will be filled from the previous set plug to thirty inches below grade level with prepared clay.

(C) The chief or his authorized representative may also require or approve the placing of brush and stone bridges, and/or mechanical bridges in the well bore or casings, when in his judgment such bridges will be necessary to ensure that the prepared clay placed in the well remains at the point in the well where such prepared clay had been placed.

(D) A precast concrete plug shall be placed on the top of the conductor pipe or surface casing.

(E) In the event that it is determined by the inspector that borehole conditions render compliance with the above plugging procedures impossible or impractical or if it is determined by the inspector that the above procedures will not fulfill the requirements as set forth under paragraph (A) of rule 1501:9-11-03 of the Administrative Code, then the inspector may designate an alternate thickness and method of emplacement of the plugs to ensure compliance with paragraph (A) of rule 1501:9-11-03 of the Administrative Code.

(F) In order to promote enhanced recovery, including but not limited to secondary and tertiary operations, the chief or his authorized representative may require special plugging conditions.

Replaces: 4101:10-1-05; Eff 7-16-82; 9-27-93; 4-15-04
Rule promulgated under: RC 119.03
Rule authorized by: RC 1509.03
Rule amplifies: RC 1509.15
RC 119.032 review dates: 9/16/03, 1/27/04, 4/15/09

1501:9-11-10 Cutting off conductor pipe or surface casing below grade; identification tag.

When the plugging operations have been completed, the remaining casing in the well shall be cut off a minimum of thirty inches below the surface of the grade. Exceptions to this rule may be granted by the chief. An identification tag shall be placed on the top of the conductor pipe or surface casing. If the landowner signs a waiver, casing may be left in place, not less than thirty inches above grade, with an identification tag.

R.C. 119.032 review dates: 01/27/2004 and 01/27/2009

Promulgated Under: 119.03

Statutory Authority: 1509.03

Rule Amplifies: 1509.15

Prior Effective Dates: 07/16/82, 08/09/93

1501:9-11-11 Plugging rat hole and mouse hole.

(A) In the event a rat hole and/or mouse hole was employed during the drilling of the well, such holes shall be plugged with cement or other approved plugging material from the bottom of the hole to a minimum of thirty inches below surface of the grade.

(B) A rat hole or mouse hole employed during the drilling of a dry hole or lost hole shall be plugged immediately after plugging the well bore. A rat hole or mouse hole employed during the drilling of a well for the purpose of production, extraction or injection of fluids shall be plugged immediately after the long string has been cemented in the well bore or when drilling operations have been completed.

R.C. 119.032 review dates: 01/27/2004 and 01/27/2009

Promulgated Under: 119.03

Statutory Authority: 1509.15

Rule Amplifies: 1509.15

Prior Effective Dates: 07/16/82

1501:9-11-12 Plugging operations.

(A) When plugging operations are not witnessed by an inspector, a plugging report on a form provided by the division and signed by the owner or his agent, shall be filed with the division within thrity days after completion of the plugging operation. For all wells plugged with cement, a cementing ticket made by the party cementing the well shall be attached to the plugging report. For all wells plugged with prepared clay, a copy of the prepared clay purchase record shall be attached to the plugging report.

(B) When an inspector is present to supervise the plugging operations, a plugging report shall be filed in such form as the chief may prescribe.

(C) When in normal production or drilling operations the well bore becomes plugged or obstructed because of loss of drilling tools or producing equipment which would be impractical or impossible to remove, special consideration shall be allowed and the well shall be plugged as nearly to the rules as existing circumstances will permit. The exact method of plugging and the equipment lost shall be shown on the plugging report.

Replaces: 1501:9-11-12; Eff 7-16-82; 9-27-93; 4-15-04
Rule promulgated under: RC 119.03
Rule authorized by: RC 1509.03
Rule amplifies: RC 1509.14
RC 119.032 review dates: 9/16/03, 4/15/09

1501:9-11-13 Conversion to water well.

When the well to be plugged may safely be used as a fresh water well, and the landowner provides written permission, the well will be plugged with a precast concrete bridge on the surface casing seat and a minimum of fifty feet of cement will be placed on the precast concrete plug, unless otherwise approved by the inspector. The landowner assumes the responsibility to plug the well upon its abandonment as a water well in accordance with these rules. Such written authority and assumption of responsibility shall be filed with the division on a form approved by the division.

Eff 7-16-82; 8-9-93; 4-15-04
Rule promulgated under: RC 119.03
Rule authorized by: RC 1509.03
Rule amplifies: RC 1509.15
RC 119.032 review dates: 9/16/03, 1/27/04, 4/15/09