1571.05 Plugging and reconditioning of wells within reservoir area.

(A) Whenever any part of a gas storage reservoir or any part of its protective area underlies any part of a coal mine, or is, or within nine months is expected or intended to be, within two thousand linear feet of the boundary of a coal mine that is operating in a coal seam any part of which extends over any part of the storage reservoir or its protective area, the operator of the reservoir, if the reservoir operator or some other reservoir operator has not theretofore done so, shall:

(1) Use every known method that is reasonable under the circumstance for discovering and locating all wells drilled within the area of the reservoir or its protective area that underlie any part of the coal mine or its protective area;

(2) Plug or recondition all known wells drilled within the area of the reservoir or its protective area that underlie any part of the coal mine.

(B) Whenever an operator of a gas storage reservoir is notified by the operator of a coal mine, as provided in division (B) of section 1571.03 of the Revised Code, that the coal mine operator believes that part of the boundary of the mine is within two thousand linear feet of a well that is drilled through the horizon of the coal mine and into or through the storage stratum or strata of the reservoir within the boundary of the reservoir or within its protective area, the reservoir operator shall plug or recondition the well as in this section prescribed, unless it is agreed in a conference or is ordered by the chief of the division of oil and gas resources management after a hearing, as provided in section 1571.10 of the Revised Code, that the well referred to in the notice is not such a well as is described in division (B) of section 1571.03 of the Revised Code.

Whenever an operator of a gas storage reservoir is notified by the operator of a coal mine as provided in division (C) or (D) of section 1571.03 of the Revised Code, that part of the boundary of the mine is, or within nine months is intended or expected to be, within two thousand linear feet of a well that is drilled through the horizon of the mine and into or through the storage stratum or strata of the reservoir within the boundary of the reservoir or within its protective area, the reservoir operator shall plug or recondition the well as in this section prescribed.

Whenever the operator of a coal mine considers that the use of a well such as in this section described, if used for injecting gas into, or storing gas in, or removing gas from, a gas storage reservoir, would be hazardous to the safety of persons or property on or in the vicinity of the premises of the coal mine or the reservoir or well, the coal mine operator may file with the division objections to the use of the well for such purposes, and a request that a conference be held as provided in section 1571.10 of the Revised Code, to discuss and endeavor to resolve by mutual agreement whether or not the well shall or shall not be used for such purposes, and whether or not the well shall be reconditioned, inactivated, or plugged. The request shall set forth the mine operator's reasons for such objections. If no approved agreement is reached in the conference, the gas storage well inspector shall within ten days after the termination of the conference, file with the chief a request that the chief hear and determine the matters considered at the conference as provided in section 1571.10 of the Revised Code. Upon conclusion of the hearing, the chief shall find and determine whether or not the safety of persons or of the property on or in the vicinity of the premises of the coal mine, or the reservoir, or the well requires that the well be reconditioned, inactivated, or plugged, and shall make an order consistent with that determination, provided that the chief shall not order a well plugged unless the chief first finds that there is underground leakage of gas therefrom.

The plugging or reconditioning of each well described in a notice from a coal mine operator to a reservoir operator as provided in division (B) of section 1571.03 of the Revised Code, which must be plugged or reconditioned, shall be completed within such time as the gas storage well inspector may fix in the case of each such well. The plugging or reconditioning of each well described in a notice from a coal mine operator to a reservoir operator as provided in division (C) of section 1571.03 of the Revised Code, which must be plugged or reconditioned, shall be completed by the time the well, by reason of the extension of the boundary of the coal mine, is within two thousand linear feet of any part of the boundary of the mine. The plugging or reconditioning of each well described in a notice from a coal mine operator to a reservoir operator, as provided in division (D) of section 1571.03 of the Revised Code, which must be plugged or reconditioned, shall be completed by the time the well, by reason of the opening of the new mine, is within two thousand linear feet of any part of the boundary of the new mine. A reservoir operator who is required to complete the plugging or reconditioning of a well within a period of time fixed as in this division prescribed, may prior to the end of that period of time, notify the division and the mine operator from whom the reservoir operator received a notice as provided in division (B), (C), or (D) of section 1571.03 of the Revised Code, in writing by registered mail, that the completion of the plugging or reconditioning of the well referred to in the notice will be delayed beyond the end of the period of time fixed therefor as in this section provided, and that the reservoir operator requests that a conference be held for the purpose of endeavoring to reach an agreement establishing a date subsequent to the end of that period of time, on or before which the reservoir operator may complete the plugging or reconditioning without incurring any penalties for failure to do so as provided in this chapter. If such a reservoir operator sends to such a mine operator and to the division a notice and request for a conference as in this division provided, the reservoir operator shall not incur any penalties for failure to complete the plugging or reconditioning of the well within the period of time fixed as in this division prescribed, unless the reservoir operator fails to complete the plugging or reconditioning of the well within the period of time fixed by an approved agreement reached in the conference, or fixed by an order by the chief upon a hearing held in the matter in the event of failure to reach an approved agreement in the conference.

Whenever, in compliance with this division, a well is to be plugged by a reservoir operator, the operator shall give to the division notice thereof, as many days in advance as will be necessary for the gas storage well inspector or a deputy mine inspector to be present at the plugging. The notification shall be made on blanks furnished by the division and shall show the following information:

(1) Name and address of the applicant;

(2) The location of the well identified by section or lot number, city or village, and township and county;

(3) The well name and number of each well to be plugged.

(C) The operator shall give written notice at the same time to the owner of the land upon which the well is located, the owners or agents of the adjoining land, and adjoining well owners or agents of the operator's intention to abandon the well, and of the time when the operator will be prepared to commence plugging and filling the same. In addition to giving such notices, the reservoir operator shall also at the same time send a copy of the notice by registered mail to the coal mine operator, if any, who sent to the reservoir operator the notice as provided in division (B), (C), or (D) of section 1571.03 of the Revised Code, in order that the coal mine operator or the coal mine operator's designated representative may attend and observe the manner in which the plugging of the well is done.

If the reservoir operator plugs the well without the gas storage well inspector or a deputy mine inspector being present to supervise the plugging, the reservoir operator shall send to the division and to the coal mine operator a copy of the report of the plugging of the well, including in the report:

(1) The date of abandonment;

(2) The name of the owner or operator of the well at the time of abandonment and the well owner's or operator's post office address;

(3) The location of the well as to township and county and the name of the owner of the surface upon which the well is drilled, with the address thereof;

(4) The date of the permit to drill;

(5) The date when drilled;

(6) Whether the well has been mapped;

(7) The depth of the well;

(8) The depth of the top of the sand to which the well was drilled;

(9) The depth of each seam of coal drilled through;

(10) A detailed report as to how the well was plugged, giving in particular the manner in which the coal and various sands were plugged, and the date of the plugging of the well, including therein the names of those who witnessed the plugging of the well.

The report shall be signed by the operator or the operator's agent who plugged the well and verified by the oath of the party so signing. For the purposes of this section, a deputy mine inspector may take acknowledgements and administer oaths to the parties signing the report.

Whenever, in compliance with this division, a well is to be reconditioned by a reservoir operator, the operator shall give to the division notice thereof as many days before the reconditioning is begun as will be necessary for the gas storage well inspector, or a deputy mine inspector, to be present at the reconditioning. No well shall be reconditioned if an inspector of the division is not present unless permission to do so has been granted by the chief. The reservoir operator, at the time of giving notice to the division as in this section required, also shall send a copy of the notice by registered mail to the coal mine operator, if any, who sent to the reservoir operator the notice as provided in division (B), (C), or (D) of section 1571.03 of the Revised Code, in order that the coal mine operator or the coal mine operator's designated representative may attend and observe the manner in which the reconditioning of the well is done.

If the reservoir operator reconditions the well when the gas storage well inspector or a deputy mine inspector is not present to supervise the reconditioning, the reservoir operator shall make written report to the division describing the manner in which the reconditioning was done, and shall send to the coal mine operator a copy of the report by registered mail.

(D) Wells that are required by this section to be plugged shall be plugged in the manner specified in sections 1509.13 to 1509.17 of the Revised Code, and the operator shall give the notifications and reports required by divisions (B) and (C) of this section. No such well shall be plugged or abandoned without the written approval of the division, and no such well shall be mudded, plugged, or abandoned without the gas storage well inspector or a deputy mine inspector present unless written permission has been granted by the chief or the gas storage well inspector. For purposes of this section, the chief of the division of mineral resources management has the authority given the chief of the division of oil and gas resources management in sections 1509.15 and 1509.17 of the Revised Code. If such a well has been plugged prior to the time plugging thereof is required by this section, and, on the basis of the data, information, and other evidence available it is determined that the plugging was done in the manner required by this section, or was done in accordance with statutes prescribing the manner of plugging wells in effect at the time the plugging was done, and that there is no evidence of leakage of gas from the well either at or below the surface, and that the plugging is sufficiently effective to prevent the leakage of gas from the well, the obligations imposed upon the reservoir operator by this section as to plugging the well shall be considered fully satisfied. The operator of a coal mine any part of the boundary of which is, or within nine months is expected or intended to be, within two thousand linear feet of the well may at any time raise a question as to whether the plugging of the well is sufficiently effective to prevent the leakage of gas therefrom, and the issue so made shall be determined by a conference or hearing as provided in section 1571.10 of the Revised Code.

(E) Wells that are to be reconditioned as required by this section shall be, or shall be made to be:

(1) Cased in accordance with the statutes of this state in effect at the time the wells were drilled, with the casing being, or made to be, sufficiently effective in that there is no evidence of any leakage of gas therefrom;

(2) Equipped with a producing string and well head composed of new pipe, or pipe as good as new, and fittings designed to operate with safety and to contain the stored gas at maximum pressures contemplated.

When a well that is to be reconditioned as required by this section has been reconditioned for use in the operation of the reservoir prior to the time prescribed in this section, and on the basis of the data, information, and other evidence available it is determined that at the time the well was so reconditioned the requirements prescribed in this division were met, and that there is no evidence of underground leakage of gas from the well, and that the reconditioning is sufficiently effective to prevent underground leakage from the well, the obligations imposed upon the reservoir operator by this section as to reconditioning the well shall be considered fully satisfied. Any operator of a coal mine any part of the boundary of which is, or within nine months is expected or intended to be, within two thousand linear feet of the well may at any time raise a question as to whether the reconditioning of the well is sufficiently effective to prevent underground leakage of gas therefrom, and the issue so made shall be determined by a conference or hearing as provided in section 1571.10 of the Revised Code.

If the gas storage well inspector at any time finds that a well that is drilled through the horizon of a coal mine and into or through the storage stratum or strata of a reservoir within the boundary of the reservoir or within its protective area is located within the boundary of the coal mine or within two thousand linear feet of the mine boundary, and was drilled prior to the time the statutes of this state required that wells be cased, and that the well fails to meet the casing and equipping requirements prescribed in this division, the gas storage well inspector shall promptly notify the operator of the reservoir thereof in writing, and the reservoir operator upon receipt of the notice shall promptly recondition the well in the manner prescribed in this division for reconditioning wells, unless, in a conference or hearing as provided in section 1571.10 of the Revised Code, a different course of action is agreed upon or ordered.

(F)

(1) When a well within the boundary of a gas storage reservoir or within the reservoir's protective area penetrates the storage stratum or strata of the reservoir, but does not penetrate the coal seam within the boundary of a coal mine, the gas storage well inspector may, upon application of the operator of the storage reservoir, exempt the well from the requirements of this section. Either party affected by the action of the gas storage well inspector may request a conference and hearing with respect to the exemption.

(2) When a well located within the boundary of a storage reservoir or a reservoir's protective area is a producing well in a stratum above or below the storage stratum, the obligations imposed by this section shall not begin until the well ceases to be a producing well.

(G) When retreat mining reaches a point in a coal mine when the operator of the mine expects that within ninety days retreat work will be at the location of a pillar surrounding an active storage reservoir well, the operator of the mine shall promptly send by registered mail notice to that effect to the operator of the reservoir. Thereupon the operators may by agreement determine whether it is necessary or advisable to temporarily inactivate the well. If inactivated, the well shall not be reactivated until a reasonable period of time has elapsed, such period of time to be determined by agreement by the operators. In the event that the parties cannot agree upon either of the foregoing matters, the question shall be submitted to the gas storage well inspector for a conference in accordance with section 1571.10 of the Revised Code.

(H)

(1) The provisions of this section that require the plugging or reconditioning of wells shall not apply to such wells as are used to inject gas into, store gas in, or remove gas from a gas storage reservoir when the sole purpose of the injection, storage, or removal is testing. The operator of a gas storage reservoir who injects gas into, stores gas in, or removes gas from a reservoir for the sole purpose of testing shall be subject to all other provisions of this chapter that are applicable to operators of reservoirs.

(2) If the injection of gas into, or storage of gas in, a gas storage reservoir any part of which, or of the protective area of which, is within the boundary of a coal mine is begun after September 9, 1957, and if the injection or storage of gas is for the sole purpose of testing, the operator of the reservoir shall send by registered mail to the operator of the coal mine, the division of oil and gas resources management, and the division of mineral resources management at least sixty days' notice of the date upon which the testing will be begun.

If at any time within the period of time during which testing of a reservoir is in progress, any part of the reservoir or of its protective area comes within any part of the boundary of a coal mine, the operator of the reservoir shall promptly send notice to that effect by registered mail to the operator of the mine, the division of oil and gas resources management, and the division of mineral resources management.

(3) Any coal mine operator who receives a notice as provided for in division (H)(2) of this section may within thirty days of the receipt thereof file with the division objections to the testing. The gas storage well inspector also may, within the time within which a coal mine operator may file an objection, place in the files of the division objections to the testing. The reservoir operator shall comply throughout the period of the testing operations with all conditions and requirements agreed upon and approved in the conference on such objections conducted as provided in section 1571.10 of the Revised Code, or in an order made by the chief following a hearing in the matter as provided in section 1571.10 of the Revised Code. If in complying with the agreement or order either the reservoir operator or the coal mine operator encounters or discovers conditions that were not known to exist at the time of the conference or hearing and that materially affect the agreement or order, or the ability of the reservoir operator to comply therewith, either operator may apply for a rehearing or modification of the order.

(I) In addition to complying with all other provisions of this chapter and any lawful orders issued thereunder, the operator of each gas storage reservoir shall keep all wells drilled into or through the storage stratum or strata within the boundary of the operator's reservoir or within the reservoir's protective area in such condition, and operate the same in such manner, as to prevent the escape of gas therefrom into any coal mine, and shall operate and maintain the storage reservoir and its facilities in such manner and at such pressures as will prevent gas from escaping from the reservoir or its facilities into any coal mine.

Cite as R.C. § 1571.05

History. Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.27, SB 165, §1, eff. 6/30/2010.

Effective Date: 06-14-2000