††††† 805 KAR 9:040. Plugging wells.

 

††††† RELATES TO: KRS 349.025

††††† STATUTORY AUTHORITY: KRS 13A.100, 349.025(5), 349.115, 353.560

††††† NECESSITY, FUNCTION, AND CONFORMITY: KRS 349.115 authorizes the Department for Natural Resources to promulgate all rules, administrative regulations, and amendments to implement the provisions of KRS Chapter 349, governing coal bed methane wells. KRS 349.025(5) requires the department to regulate the plugging of vertical and horizontal coal bed methane wells. This administrative regulation establishes the minimum acceptable standard to plug or temporarily cease production of a well drilled through coal-bearing strata.

 

††††† Section 1. Requirement to Plug. Unless written permission is obtained from the department, no operator or owner shall allow any well drilled, converted to, or operated as a coal bed methane well to remain unplugged after that well is no longer used for the purpose for which it was drilled, converted, or operated. However, this administrative regulation shall not prevent the department, upon application and for good cause shown, from issuing to an operator a temporary abandonment permit to leave a well unplugged for a period not exceeding two (2) years. The permission for temporary abandonment may be renewed at the end of the two (2) year period upon reapplication by the operator. A well for which a temporary abandonment permit has been issued shall be cased and capped in such a manner as to protect all potential coal bed methane zones, gas zones, and coal beds, and vented in such a manner as to prevent the accumulation of gas in the bore hole.

 

††††† Section 2. Notice of Plugging. Prior to abandonment of a well drilled through a workable coal bed the well operator shall notify, by registered mail, the owner or owners of record and lessee(s) of record and operators of the coal bed(s) and the proper oil and gas inspector of the intention to plug and abandon the well. The notice shall comply with KRS 349.025(1). The time fixed for the plugging of the well, as provided in the notice, shall include both the hour and the day at which the work of the plugging may be commenced. The notice shall be on Form CBM-8 entitled "Notice of Intention to Plug and Abandon Well." A representative or representatives of the coal operator or owner and of the department may be present at the plugging, in accordance with KRS 349.025(1).

 

††††† Section 3. Manner of Plugging. If any well drilled through a workable coal bed is abandoned, it shall be at that time plugged to a point forty (40) feet below the lowest coal seam worked, in the following manner: The hole shall be filled with cement or other nonporous material, approved by the director as material that will make an effective seal from the bottom to the surface.

 

††††† Section 4. Domestic Water Well Use. If the well to be plugged may safely be used for a fresh water well, and this utilization is desired by the landowner and is acceptable to the owner or operator of all coal-bearing strata beneath the location of that well, it shall be required to be filled above the required sealing plug set below fresh water; if written authority for this use is secured from the landowner, and coal owner or operator, and filed with the department. In order for the operator to be released of any further plugging responsibility, the operator shall provide to the department evidence of compliance with the domestic water well construction requirements pursuant to 401 KAR 6:310 as administered by the Department for Environmental Protection.

 

††††† Section 5. Plugging Affidavit. Within thirty (30) days after the plugging of any well has been accomplished, the well owner or operator shall file a plugging report with the department, setting forth in detail the method used in plugging the well. The report shall be made on Form CBM-9 as provided by the department. One (1) copy of the affidavit shall be retained by the well operator, one (1) mailed to each coal operator and each owner, and one (1) to the department.

 

††††† Section 6. Plugging Method. (1) The operator shall have the option as to selecting the method of placing cement in the hole by:

††††† (a) Dump bailer;

††††† (b) Pumping through tubing;

††††† (c) Pump and plug; or

††††† (d) Other method approved by the director upon letter application, if the method is determined to be safe for the environment and necessary due to the operatorís inability to use the methods in paragraphs (a) through (c) or if the method is determined to be safe for the environment and as effective as the use of cement.

††††† (2) The operator shall ensure that when the hole is being filled with cement or other nonporous material, as approved by the director, that the hole does not bridge and prohibit the filling of the entire hole as required. Should the hole bridge and prohibit the filling the entire hole, the operator shall cease plugging and clean out by drilling out or washing down the well bore.

 

††††† Section 7. Material Incorporated by Reference. (1) The following material is incorporated by reference:

††††† (a) "Notice of Intention to Plug and Abandon Well," Form CBM-8, January 2005, Division of Oil and Gas Conservation; and

††††† (b) "Affidavit to Time and Manner of Plugging and Filling Well," Form CBM-9, January 2005, Division of Oil and Gas Conservation,.

††††† (2) This material may be inspected, copied, or obtained, subject to applicable copyright law, at the Kentucky Department for Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas Conservation, 1025 Capital Center Drive, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (31 Ky.R. 1470; eff. 6-8-2005.)