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As part of focused outreach and the development of publicly shared resources relating to legacy wells, DEP’s Bureau of Oil and Gas Planning and Program Management recently published a farmline map series.
Learn more about farmline maps.
DEP published an important ESCGP-3 update in the July 11, 2020, PA Bulletin. These changes effect new and/or major modification notices of intent and go into effect September 9, 2020.
Learn more about this ESCGP-3 update.
On June 18, 2020, IRRC unanimously approved (5 members in favor, no members opposed) the DEP final form rulemaking to increase the unconventional well drilling permit fee.
Learn more about the Final Form Rulemaking.
(Final Guidance; substantive revisions) This document provides guidance to well operators for ensuring compliance with legal restoration and replacement of private water supplies adversely impacted by unconventional gas operations.
Review the Final Guidance Document in its entirety.
DEP ID: 800-0810-003
Guidelines for Development of Operator Pressure Barrier Policy for Unconventional Wells
Description: The purpose of these guidelines is to inform unconventional operators engaged in drilling, hydraulic fracturing, alteration or plugging activities, or other pertinent oil and gas operations; of items to consider when developing the Pressure Barrier Policy (PBP) component of a Preparedness, Prevention and Contingency (PPC) plan. Recommendations relevant to maintaining compliance with the requirements of Chapter 78a and any additional requirements set forth in The Clean Streams Law, The Solid Waste Management Act, the 2012 Oil and Gas Act and other applicable laws are summarized. These guidelines have been developed to facilitate appropriate well control incident risk mitigation.
Written Comments: Interested persons may submit written comments on this draft TGD through Monday, September 28, 2020. Comments submitted by facsimile will not be accepted. All comments, including comments submitted by e-mail, must include the commenter’s name and address. Commenters are encouraged to submit comments using the Department’s online
eComment tool or by e-mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Written comments can be mailed to the Technical Guidance Coordinator, Department of Environmental Protection, Policy Office, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105 2063.
Contact: Questions regarding this TGD can be directed to Harry Wise at
email@example.com or (717) 772-0219.
Effective Date: Upon publication of notice as final in the
Technical guidance documents (TGD) are available on the
Department of Environmental Protection's (Department) web site. The ''Technical Guidance Final Documents'' heading is the link to a menu of the various Department bureaus where each bureau's final TGDs are posted. The ''Technical Guidance Draft Documents'' heading is the link to the Department's draft TGDs.
DEP has recently completed a comprehensive analysis of both regulatory requirements and an industry standards document updated in December 2018 relating to blowout preventer (BOP) function and pressure testing (American Petroleum Institute (API) Standard 53, Well Control Equipment Systems for Drilling Wells). In response to the analysis, the agency has rewritten a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document to align it with the current, best technical thinking associated with effective BOP testing measures. BOP equipment provides a last line of defense when an operator runs the risk of losing control of a well (uncontrolled flow of pressurized gas and liquids toward the surface).
The updated FAQ establishes that following the referenced API guidelines for both function and pressure testing, as written, are acceptable and provide superior safety measures. More specifically, the API guidelines provide consistent, system-wide testing procedures during BOP set-up, use, and transition to nearby wells on a multi-well pad. Further, the guidelines provide specific procedural steps that ensure comprehensive function and pressure testing at test intervals that have been fully vetted.
With the release of this FAQ, DEP has clarified that following API Standard 53 is consistent with the intent of the 2011 rulemaking language associated with 78a.72/78.72 (e) and (f), and would be in compliance with DEP’s regulations. The updated FAQ provides a transparent and clear mechanism for an operator to pursue a contemporary, superior BOP testing procedure, as allowed by the referenced regulations. In cases where an operator is proposing a method not consistent with the FAQ or the section 78a.72/78.72 testing requirements, DEP has also developed a new form, 8000-FM-OOGM0017, that can be used to document requests for DEP review and approval associated with modified BOP testing procedures. All of these new resources are available for reference and implementation, effective immediately.