Before transferring an abandoned well into your name and making yourself responsible for it, the well should be evaluated by a professional who can assess the mechanical integrity of the well. There also may be ownership interests tied to even an abandoned well, so a thorough investigation of ownership or operating interests of the well should be completed. Additionally, the well may or may not supply enough gas to meet your needs.
Before you begin using any well, please contact your DEP District Oil and Gas Office for assistance in having the well registered in your name, but keep in mind that there are obligations involved such as reporting annual production, assessing the well’s mechanical integrity, etc.; and as new owner/operator, you ultimately have the responsibility of plugging the well when it is no longer in use and may have to complete other regulatory obligations such as completing water supply investigations to ensure your well is not responsible for any kind of health, safety and environmental impacts. Besides annual production reporting and plugging, the well is required to be bonded, if it was drilled after 1984. It is important for you to know the full costs associated with the well before you decide to take responsibility for it by accepting a transfer or registering it under you name.
Private use of gas from a well for home, farm, business, or industrial plant subjects the owner or operator to all of DEP’s relevant statutes and regulations. If you operate a well or have gas piped directly to your house from any producing well, you are responsible for your own safety; that is, safe control and use of the gas. You are responsible for the piping, pressure regulators, and automatic shutoffs needed to keep the gas flowing properly and prevent leaks into your home. Unlike gas from a utility company, natural gas coming directly from a well may have no odor. When acquiring a house with a gas well, or installing a gas line from a well, please have a qualified professional utility contractor inspect the system and perform any installation or repair work needed.