Section 165:10-11-3 - Duty to plug and abandon

165:10-11-3. Duty to plug and abandon 

(a)    Scope. This Section applies to:

(1)    Liability of the well owners and operator or other responsible person(s) to plug a well.

(2)    Time periods for plugging wells:

(A)    Without casing.

(B)    With only surface casing and cement.

(C)    With production casing.

(3)    Wells exempted from plugging.

(4)    Notice of Temporary Exemption from Plugging granting permission to postpone plugging of a well.

(b)    Liability of owners and operators or other responsible persons(s). Any working interest owner and operator of any oil, gas, disposal, injection, or other service well or any seismic, core, or other exploratory hole, whether cased or uncased, shall be jointly and severally liable and responsible for the plugging thereof in accordance with this Subchapter unless other responsible person(s) become liable for such plugging. "Other responsible person(s)" means person(s) exercising dominion and control over any oil, gas, disposal, injection, or other service well or any seismic, core, or other exploratory hole, whether cased or uncased, without the authority or permission of the working interest owners or operator thereof. In such instances the other responsible person(s) shall be jointly and severally liable with the owners and operator for the plugging of the well. The owner of the surface estate shall not be considered an "other responsible person" solely as a result of:

(1)    the reversion of the ownership of an abandoned wellbore and associated equipment to the surface owner, as a matter of law, unless the surface owner engages in activities that potentially compromise the integrity of the wellbore; or

(2)    the removal of abandoned surface equipment, trash and debris from the surface estate, or remediation activities regarding the surface estate.

(c)    Time period for plugging well without casing. Each well in which neither production casing nor surface casing has been run shall be properly plugged within 72 hours after drilling or testing is completed. However, should the lack of production and surface casing create a fire hazard or a risk of contaminating the environment or formations containing oil, gas, or known treatable water, said well shall be properly plugged within 24 hours after drilling and testing is completed. The well marker requirement described in 165:10-3-4 (e) shall be followed.

(d)    Time period for plugging well with only surface casing and cement. Each well in which only surface casing has been run and cemented in conformance with 165:10-3-4 shall be properly plugged within 90 days after drilling or testing is completed unless the lack of production or intermediate casing creates a fire hazard or risk of contaminating the environment or formations containing oil, gas, or known treatable water, in which case or cases the well shall be plugged within 24 hours.

(e)    Time period for plugging well with production casing. Unless exempted under provisions contained elsewhere in this Section, any well which has production casing in place shall be plugged within one year after the latter of:

(1)    Cessation of drilling if the well was not completed or tested; or

(2)    Cessation of the latter of completion or testing if the well has not produced; or

(3)    Cessation of production.

(f)    Operators failing to commence timely plugging operations. An operator who fails to commence plugging operations as required in (c), (d), and (e) of this Section after due notice from the District Office or the appropriate field inspector may be fined up to $1,000.00.

(g)    Wells exempted from plugging. The following wells which have production casing in place shall be exempt from (e) of this Section:

(1)    Shut-in gas wells, for the purpose of this Section, shall be considered producing wells in operation.

(2)    Any well for which a written order of the Commission granting a specific exception to plugging is in full force and effect.

(3)    Supply wells or wells authorized by order of the Commission for injection or disposal purposes and are in compliance with the rules of the Commission.

(4)    Any well for which a temporary exemption from the plugging rules has been approved.

(5)    Any oil or gas well which is exempt from plugging pursuant to 17 O.S. § 53.

[Source: Amended at 9 Ok Reg 2337, eff 6-25-92; Amended at 9 Ok Reg 2295, eff 6-25-92; Amended at 14 Ok Reg 2198, eff 7-1-97; Amended at 15 Ok Reg 2942, eff 3-30-98 (emergency); Amended at 16 Ok Reg 2230, eff 7-1-99; Amended at 29 Ok Reg 950, eff 7-1-12; Amended at 34 Ok Reg 921, eff 9-11-17]