Ohio Department of Natural Resources sets rules for pad drilling

Borehole drilling oil well
Source: DollarPhotoClub

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced that it is implementing new rules for the construction of horizontal well-pad sites – The Columbus Dispatch reported last week.

Pad drilling is increasingly popular among shale exploration companies as it gives access to a much larger area of shale deposits from a single vertical well. This limits the costs but also diminishes the potential footprint of the wells and lessens the nuisance factor for the neighbouring communities.

Shawn Bennett, executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, said horizontal pads can include eight to 18 wells at the same time.

The work on the regulations dates back to 2012 when some restrictions were passed on new drilling techniques – including fracking. One of the law dating back to 2012 required drilling companies to disclose the chemical components they were using during drilling and fracking, as well as their source of water during the drilling process, among other regulations.

New regulations, however, will go further. Among the newly-introduced requirements are those requiring the drilling companies to submit a detailed plan of the horizontal well-pad site before starting construction, and needing ODNR permission before making any kind of modification to the pad construction. The operators will also need to build a wall around storage tanks on the site and having a storage-containment unit underneath trucks that transport oil and gas, to avoid spills.

Eric Heis, ODNR public-information officer told The Columbus Dispatch that new, more stringent, regulations were necessary because of the unprecedented pace of growth in the number of shale wells in the state.

According to the Debrosse Memorial Report the number of producing wells in Ohio increased from 553 in 2012 to more than 50,000 in 2014.

The regulations were met with Shawn Bennett’s cautious approval who pointed out that such regulations already are being followed by most drilling companies as part of the best-practices guidelines.

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