Code Section Group

Public Resources Code - PRC

DIVISION 3. OIL AND GAS [3000 - 3865]

  ( Division 3 enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 93. )

CHAPTER 1. Oil and Gas Conservation [3000 - 3473]

  ( Chapter 1 enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 93. )

ARTICLE 4. Regulation of Operations [3200 - 3238]
  ( Article 4 enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 93. )

3200.
  

An owner or operator of a well or production facility shall designate an agent, giving his or her address, who resides in this state, to receive and accept service of all orders, notices, and processes of the supervisor or a court of law. Every person so appointing an agent shall, within five days after the termination of the agency, notify the supervisor, in writing, of the termination, and unless operations are discontinued, shall appoint a new agent.

(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 562, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2009.)

3201.
  

The operator of a well or production facility shall notify the supervisor or the district deputy, in writing, in such form as the supervisor or the district deputy may direct, of the sale, assignment, transfer, conveyance, exchange, or other disposition of the well or production facility by the operator of the well or production facility as soon as is reasonably possible, but in no event later than the date that the sale, assignment, transfer, conveyance, exchange, or other disposition becomes final. The operator shall not be relieved of responsibility for the well or production facility until the supervisor or the district deputy acknowledges the sale, assignment, transfer, conveyance, exchange, or other disposition, in writing, and the person acquiring the well or production facility is in compliance with Section 3202. The operator’s notice shall contain all of the following:

(a) The name and address of the person to whom the well or production facility was or will be sold, assigned, transferred, conveyed, exchanged, or otherwise disposed.

(b) The name and location of the well or production facility, and a description of the land upon which the well or production facility is situated.

(c) The date that the sale, assignment, transfer, conveyance, exchange, or other disposition becomes final.

(d) The date when possession was or will be relinquished by the operator as a result of that disposition.

(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 562, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 2009.)

3202.
  

(a) A person who acquires the right to operate a well or production facility, whether by purchase, transfer, assignment, conveyance, exchange, or other disposition, shall, as soon as it is reasonably possible, but not later than the date when the acquisition of the well or production facility becomes final, notify the supervisor or the district deputy, in writing, of the person’s operation. The acquisition of a well or production facility shall not be recognized as complete by the supervisor or the district deputy until the new operator provides all of the following material:

(1) The name and address of the person from whom the well or production facility was acquired.

(2) The name and location of the well or production facility, and a description of the land upon which the well or production facility is situated.

(3) The date when the acquisition becomes final.

(4) The date when possession was or will be acquired.

(5) An indemnity bond for each well as required under Section 3204 or 3205.

(b) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2018.

(Repealed (in Sec. 3) and added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 272, Sec. 4. (AB 2729) Effective January 1, 2017. Section operative January 1, 2018, by its own provisions.)

3203.
  

(a) The operator of any well, before commencing the work of drilling the well, shall file with the supervisor or the district deputy a written notice of intention to commence drilling. Drilling shall not commence until approval is given by the supervisor or the district deputy. If the supervisor or the district deputy fails to give the operator written response to the notice within 10 working days from the date of receipt, that failure shall be considered as an approval of the notice and the notice, for the purposes and intents of this chapter, shall be deemed a written report of the supervisor. If operations have not commenced within 24 months of receipt of the notice, the notice shall be deemed canceled, the notice shall not be extended, and the cancellation shall be noted in the division’s records. The notice shall contain the pertinent data the supervisor requires on printed forms supplied by the division or on other forms acceptable to the supervisor. The supervisor may require other pertinent information to supplement the notice.

(b) After the completion of any well, this section also applies as far as may be, to the deepening or redrilling of the well, any operation involving the plugging of the well, or any operations permanently altering in any manner the casing of the well. The number or designation of any well, and the number or designation specified for any well in a notice filed as required by this section, shall not be changed without first obtaining a written consent of the supervisor.

(c) If an operator has failed to comply with an order of the supervisor, the supervisor may deny approval of proposed well operations until the operator brings its existing well operations into compliance with the order. If an operator has failed to pay a civil penalty, remedy a violation that it is required to remedy to the satisfaction of the supervisor pursuant to an order issued under Section 3236.5, or to pay any charges assessed under Article 7 (commencing with Section 3400), the supervisor may deny approval to the operator’s proposed well operations until the operator pays the civil penalty, remedies the violation to the satisfaction of the supervisor, or pays the charges assessed under Article 7 (commencing with Section 3400).

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 652, Sec. 1. (SB 724) Effective January 1, 2018.)

3204.
  

(a) An operator who, on or after January 1, 2018, engages in the drilling, redrilling, deepening, or in any operation permanently altering the casing, of a well, or who acquires a well, shall file with the supervisor an individual indemnity bond for each well so drilled, redrilled, deepened, or permanently altered, or acquired in the following amount:

(1) Twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for each well that is less than 10,000 feet deep.

(2) Forty thousand dollars ($40,000) for each well that is 10,000 or more feet deep.

(b) The bond shall be filed with the supervisor at the time of the filing of the notice of intention to perform work on the well, as provided in Section 3203, or at the time of acquisition of the well, as provided in Section 3202. The bond shall be executed by the operator, as principal, and by an authorized surety company, as surety, on the condition that the principal named in the bond shall faithfully comply with all the provisions of this chapter, in drilling, redrilling, deepening, or permanently altering the casing in any well or wells covered by the bond, and shall secure the state against all losses, charges, and expenses incurred by it to obtain the compliance by the principal named in the bond.

(c) The conditions of the bond shall be stated in substantially the following language: “If the ____, the above bounden principal, shall well and truly comply with all the provisions of Division 3 (commencing with Section 3000) of the Public Resources Code and shall obey all lawful orders of the State Oil and Gas Supervisor or the district deputy or deputies, subject to subsequent appeal as provided in that division, and shall pay all charges, costs, and expenses incurred by the supervisor or the district deputy or deputies in respect of the well or wells or the property or properties of the principal, or assessed against the well or wells or the property or properties of the principal, in pursuance of the provisions of that division, then this obligation shall be void; otherwise, it shall remain in full force and effect.”

(d) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2018.

(Repealed (in Sec. 5) and added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 272, Sec. 4. (AB 2729) Effective January 1, 2017. Section operative January 1, 2018, by its own provisions.)

3205.
  

(a) An operator who engages in the drilling, redrilling, deepening, or in any operation permanently altering the casing, of 20 or more wells at any time, may file with the supervisor one blanket indemnity bond to cover all the operations in any of its wells in the state in lieu of an individual indemnity bond for each operation as required by Section 3204. The bond shall be executed by the operator, as principal, and by an authorized surety company, as surety, and shall be in substantially the same language and upon the same conditions as provided in Section 3204, except as to the difference in the amount. The bond shall be provided in one of the following amounts, as applicable:

(1) The sum of two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000), for an operator having 50 or fewer wells in the state, exclusive of properly abandoned wells.

(2) The sum of four hundred thousand dollars ($400,000), for any operator having more than 50, but no more than 500, wells in the state, exclusive of properly abandoned wells.

(3) The sum of two million dollars ($2,000,000), for any operator having more than 500, but no more than 10,000, wells in the state, exclusive of properly abandoned wells.

(4) The sum of three million dollars ($3,000,000), for any operator having more than 10,000 wells in the state, exclusive of properly abandoned wells.

(b) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2018.

(Repealed (in Sec. 7) and added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 272, Sec. 4. (AB 2729) Effective January 1, 2017. Section operative January 1, 2018, by its own provisions.)

3205.1.
  

(a) Notwithstanding Sections 3204 and 3205, a person who engages in the drilling, redrilling, or deepening, or in any operation permanently altering the casing, of one or more wells located on submerged lands under ocean waters within the jurisdiction of this state, shall file with the supervisor a blanket indemnity bond for one million dollars ($1,000,000) to cover all his or her operations in drilling, redrilling, deepening, or permanently altering the casing in any of his or her wells located on those submerged lands. The bond shall be executed by the person, as principal, and by an authorized surety company, as surety, and the conditions of the bond shall be the same as the conditions stated in Section 3204, except for the difference in the amount.

(b) In addition to providing the bond required by subdivision (a), a person who operates one or more wells that are located on tide or submerged lands within the jurisdiction of this state shall provide an additional amount of security acceptable to the supervisor, covering the full costs of plugging and abandoning all of the operator’s wells. The supervisor shall determine the amount of the security required of each operator, based on his or her determination of the reasonable costs of that plugging and abandonment, after providing the operator with an opportunity to submit a cost estimate for consideration by the supervisor. The supervisor may not adjust the amount of security required of each operator more frequently than once every three years, to reflect changes in those costs. An operator may self-insure this security obligation if the supervisor, at his or her discretion, determines that the operator has sufficient financial resources to plug and abandon the wells for which the operator is responsible. The security shall remain in effect until all wells are plugged and abandoned in accordance with Section 3208, but the supervisor shall reduce the amount of the security required of an operator to reflect reduced obligations as wells are plugged and abandoned.

(c) If the state lease or other agreement that sets forth obligations or performance requirements under the lease provides security that is equal to, or greater than, the total of the additional security required pursuant to subdivision (b), plus all other liabilities under the lease or other agreement, the supervisor shall not require the additional security.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 607, Sec. 2. (SB 1147) Effective January 1, 2019.)

3205.2.
  

(a) Notwithstanding Section 3204, any person who engages in the operation of a class II commercial wastewater disposal well, as defined in subdivision (d), shall file an indemnity bond with the supervisor for one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for each well so used. The bond shall cover all operations of drilling, redrilling, deepening, altering casing, maintaining, or abandoning the well and attendant facilities. The bond shall be executed by the person as the principal, and by an authorized surety company as the surety, and, except for differences in the amount, shall be in substantially the same language and upon the same conditions as provided in Section 3204.

(b) A blanket bond submitted under subdivision (a) of Section 3205 may be used in lieu of the bond required in subdivision (a), except that the termination and cancellation shall be in accordance with subdivision (c) of this section.

(c) Notwithstanding Section 3207, any bond issued in compliance with this section may be terminated and canceled and the surety relieved of all obligations thereunder when the well is properly abandoned or another valid bond has been substituted therefor.

(d) A class II commercial wastewater disposal well is a well that is used to dispose of oilfield wastewater for a fee and that is regulated by the division pursuant to this chapter and Subpart F (commencing with Section 147.250) of Part 147 of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 315, Sec. 4. (SB 665) Effective January 1, 2014.)

3205.5.
  

In lieu of the indemnity bond required by Sections 3204, 3205, 3205.1, 3205.2, and 3206, a deposit may, with the written approval of the supervisor, be given pursuant to Article 7 (commencing with Section 995.710) of Chapter 2 of Title 14 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, other than a deposit of money or bearer bonds or bearer notes.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 1068, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 1999.)

3205.6.
  

Before July 1, 2020, the supervisor shall do all of the following:

(a) Evaluate and estimate the costs associated with the decommissioning, including plugging and abandonment pursuant to Section 3208, of the offshore oil and gas wells under its jurisdiction.

(b) If necessary, based on the estimates made pursuant to subdivision (a), develop a schedule to increase the bond amounts or other financial surety provided by an operator of an offshore oil or gas well to ensure sufficient moneys are available to the state to decommission the well if no other entity is responsible for those decommissioning costs.

(c) Coordinate with the State Lands Commission to ensure the actions taken pursuant to this section and Section 6829.3 are not duplicative and are consistent with Section 3205.1.

(Added by Stats. 2018, Ch. 607, Sec. 3. (SB 1147) Effective January 1, 2019.)

3206.
  

(a) The operator of any idle well shall do either of the following:

(1) No later than May 1 of each year, for each idle well that was an idle well at any time in the last calendar year, file with the supervisor an annual fee equal to the sum of the following amounts:

(A) One hundred fifty dollars ($150) for each idle well that has been an idle well for three years or longer, but less than eight years.

(B) Three hundred dollars ($300) for each idle well that has been an idle well for eight years or longer, but less than 15 years.

(C) Seven hundred fifty dollars ($750) for each idle well that has been an idle well for 15 years or longer, but less than 20 years.

(D) One thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) for each idle well that has been an idle well for 20 years or longer.

(2) File a plan with the supervisor to provide for the management and elimination of all long-term idle wells.

(A) For the purposes of the plan required by this paragraph, elimination of an idle well shall be accomplished when the well has been properly abandoned in accordance with Section 3208, or it has been shown to the division’s satisfaction that, since the well became an idle well, the well has maintained production of oil or gas or been used for injection for a continuous six-month period.

(B) A plan filed pursuant to this paragraph shall meet all of the following requirements and conditions:

(i) The plan shall specify the time period that it covers. The plan and any renewal of the plan shall cover a time period of no more than five years and shall be subject to approval by the supervisor who may prioritize the order in which idle wells are addressed.

(ii) The plan shall be reviewed for performance annually by the supervisor, and be subject to amendment by the supervisor, or by the operator with the approval of the supervisor.

(iii) The required rate of long-term idle well elimination shall be based upon the number of idle wells under the control of an operator on January 1 of each year, as specified in clause (iv). If the operator has eliminated more wells than required in the prior two years, the supervisor may deduct from the new requirement the net total of long-term idle wells eliminated in excess of those previously required. In addition, the supervisor may require additional well testing requirements as part of the plan.

(iv) Unless and until the operator has no long-term idle wells, the plan shall require that operators with 250 or fewer idle wells eliminate at least 4 percent of their long-term idle wells each year, and, in no case, less than one long-term idle well; operators with 251 to 1,250, inclusive, idle wells eliminate at least 5 percent of their long-term idle wells each year, and, in no case, less than one long-term idle well; and operators with more than 1,250 idle wells eliminate at least 6 percent of their long-term idle wells each year, and, in no case, less than one long-term idle well.

(v) An operator who fails to comply with the plan, as determined by the supervisor after the annual performance review, is not eligible to use the requirements of this paragraph, for purposes of compliance with this section, for any of its idle wells. That operator may not propose a new idle well plan for the next five years. An operator may appeal to the director pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 3350) regarding the supervisor’s rejection of a plan and plan amendments and the supervisor’s determination of the operator’s failure to comply with a plan. If the supervisor’s determination that the operator failed to comply with the plan is not timely appealed, or if the director upholds the supervisor’s determination upon appeal, then the operator shall immediately file the fees required under paragraph (1) for each year that the operator failed to comply with the plan.

(b) All fees received under this section shall be deposited in the Hazardous and Idle-Deserted Well Abatement Fund, which is hereby created in the State Treasury. Notwithstanding Section 13340 of the Government Code, the moneys in the Hazardous and Idle-Deserted Well Abatement Fund are hereby continuously appropriated to the department for expenditure without regard to fiscal year, to mitigate a hazardous or potentially hazardous condition, by well plugging and abandonment, decommissioning the production facilities, or both, at a well of an operator subject to the requirements of this section.

(c) Failure to file, for any well, the fee required under this section shall be conclusive evidence of desertion of the well, permitting the supervisor to order the well abandoned pursuant to Section 3237.

(d) Nothing in this section prohibits a local agency from collecting a fee for regulation of wells.

(e) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2018.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 742, Sec. 3. (SB 1493) Effective January 1, 2019.)

3206.1.
  

(a) By June 1, 2018, the division shall review, evaluate, and update its regulations pertaining to idle wells. The update shall include idle well testing and management requirements that, at a minimum, include all of the following:

(1) Appropriate testing, as determined by the supervisor, to determine whether the fluid level is above the base of an underground source of drinking water.

(2) Appropriate testing, as determined by the supervisor, to verify the mechanical integrity of the well.

(3) Appropriate remediation, as determined by the supervisor, of idle wells if there is an indication of a lack of mechanical integrity.

(4) For a well that has been an idle well for 15 years or more, an engineering analysis demonstrating to the division’s satisfaction that it is viable to return the idle well to operation in the future.

(b) If the operator demonstrates to the division’s satisfaction that the well is not within one-half mile of an underground source of drinking water, testing required under the regulations implementing this section shall not be required until at least two years after the well becomes an idle well. This subdivision shall not be construed to prohibit or limit any other testing required under this chapter.

(c) At the discretion of the supervisor, the regulations implementing this section may provide an option for temporary or partial well abandonment in lieu of compliance with the requirements of the regulations implementing this section.

(d) If the operator does not remediate an idle well as required by the regulations implementing this section, or the operator does not demonstrate that an idle well is economically viable as required by the regulations implementing this section, then the operator shall plug and abandon the idle well in accordance with Section 3208.

(e) Failure to file to comply with the requirements of the regulations implementing this section shall be conclusive evidence of desertion of the well, permitting the supervisor to order the well abandoned pursuant to Section 3237.

(f) For purposes of this section, an “underground source of drinking water” has the same meaning as in the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 300f).

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 272, Sec. 11. (AB 2729) Effective January 1, 2017.)

3206.3.
  

(a) (1) Notwithstanding Section 10231.5 of the Government Code, on or before July 1, 2019, and annually thereafter until July 1, 2026, the supervisor shall, in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code, prepare and transmit to the Legislature a comprehensive report on the status of idle and long-term idle wells for the preceding calendar year. The report shall include:

(A) A list of all idle and long-term idle wells in the state by American Petroleum Institute identification number and indicating the operator, field, and pool.

(B) A list of all wells whose idle or long-term idle status changed in the preceding year by American Petroleum Institute identification number with the disposition and current status of each well.

(C) A list of orphan wells remaining, the estimated costs of abandoning those orphan wells, and a timeline for future orphan well abandonment with a specific schedule of goals. Idle and long-term idle wells that have become orphan wells shall be identified in the list. For the purposes of this report, an orphan well is a well that has no party responsible for it, leaving the state to plug and abandon it.

(D) A list of all operators with plans filed with the supervisor for the management and elimination of all long-term idle wells and the status of those plans.

(E) Any additional relevant information as determined by the supervisor.

(2) The report shall be made publicly available and an electronic version shall be available on the division’s Internet Web site.

(b) Information on how to access the plans described in subparagraph (D) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) shall be on the division’s Internet Web site.

(c) After July 1, 2026, the division shall continue to regularly provide updated information describing idle and long-term idle wells on the division’s Internet Web site.

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 272, Sec. 12. (AB 2729) Effective January 1, 2017.)

3206.5.
  

(a) Any city or county may request from the supervisor a list of all idle wells, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 3008, within its jurisdiction.

(b) After receiving the list from the supervisor, the city or county may identify idle wells identified pursuant to subdivision (a) within its jurisdiction which it has determined, based on a competent, professional evaluation, have no reasonable expectation of being reactivated, and formally request the supervisor to make a determination whether the wells should be plugged and abandoned.

(c) Upon receiving the written request of a city or county, as specified in subdivision (b):

(1) The supervisor may, within 60 days of receiving a written request from a city or county, require the operator or operators to file a statement for each well outlining those reasons why the wells should not be plugged and abandoned.

(2) The supervisor shall, within 120 days of receiving a written request, make a determination as to whether any of these wells should be plugged and abandoned, pursuant to the criteria contained in this chapter.

(d) Failure of the operator to file, for any well, the statement required under this section shall be conclusive evidence of desertion of the well, thereby permitting the supervisor to order the well abandoned.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 652, Sec. 3. (SB 724) Effective January 1, 2018.)

3207.
  

(a) Any individual or blanket indemnity bond issued in compliance with this chapter may be terminated and canceled and the surety relieved of all obligations thereunder when the well or wells covered by such bond have been properly abandoned pursuant to Section 3208, or another valid bond has been substituted therefor. Should the person who has filed a blanket bond properly abandon a portion of his or her wells covered by the bond, the bond may be terminated and canceled and the surety relieved of all obligations thereunder upon the filing by such person of an individual bond for each well that is still not abandoned. Liability as to individual wells that have been properly abandoned under a blanket bond may also be terminated.

(b) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2018.

(Repealed (in Sec. 13) and added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 272, Sec. 4. (AB 2729) Effective January 1, 2017. Section operative January 1, 2018, by its own provisions.)

3208.
  

(a) For the purposes of Sections 3206 and 3207, a well is properly abandoned when it has been shown, to the satisfaction of the supervisor, that all proper steps have been taken to isolate all oil-bearing or gas-bearing strata encountered in the well, and to protect underground or surface water suitable for irrigation or farm or domestic purposes from the infiltration or addition of any detrimental substance and to prevent subsequent damage to life, health, property, and other resources. For purposes of this subdivision, proper steps include the plugging of the well, decommissioning the attendant production facilities of the well, or both, if determined necessary by the supervisor.

(b) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2018.

(Repealed (in Sec. 15) and added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 272, Sec. 4. (AB 2729) Effective January 1, 2017. Section operative January 1, 2018, by its own provisions.)

3208.1.
  

(a) To prevent, as far as possible, damage to life, health, and property, the supervisor or district deputy may order, or permit, the reabandonment of any previously abandoned well if the supervisor or the district deputy has reason to question the integrity of the previous abandonment, or if the well is not accessible or visible.

(b) The operator responsible for plugging and abandoning deserted wells under Section 3237 shall be responsible for the reabandonment except in the following situations:

(1) The supervisor finds that the operator plugged and abandoned the well in conformity with the requirements of this division in effect at the time of the plugging and abandonment and that the well in its current condition presents no immediate danger to life, health, and property but requires additional work solely because the owner of the property on which the well is located proposes construction on the property that would prevent or impede access to the well for purposes of remedying a currently perceived future problem. In this situation, the owner of the property on which the well is located shall obtain all rights necessary to reabandon the well and be responsible for the reabandonment.

(2) The supervisor finds that the operator plugged and abandoned the well in conformity with the requirements of this division in effect at the time of the plugging and abandonment and that construction over or near the well preventing or impeding access to it was begun on or after January 1, 1988, and the property owner, developer, or local agency permitting the construction failed either to obtain an opinion from the supervisor or district deputy as to whether the previously abandoned well is required to be reabandoned or to follow the advice of the supervisor or district deputy not to undertake the construction. In this situation, the person or entity causing the construction over or near the well shall be responsible for the reabandonment.

(3) The supervisor finds that the operator plugged and abandoned the well in conformity with the requirements of this division in effect at the time of the plugging and abandonment and after that time someone other than the operator or an affiliate of the operator disturbed the integrity of the abandonment in the course of developing the property, and the supervisor is able to determine based on credible evidence, including circumstantial evidence, the party or parties responsible for disturbing the integrity of the abandonment. In this situation, the party or parties responsible for disturbing the integrity of the abandonment shall be responsible for the reabandonment.

(c) For purposes of this section, being responsible for the reabandonment means that the responsible party or parties shall complete the reabandonment and be subject to the requirements of this chapter as an operator of the well. The responsible party or parties shall file with the supervisor the appropriate bond or security in an amount specified in Section 3204, 3205, or 3205.1. If the reabandonment is not completed, the supervisor may act under Section 3226 to complete the work.

(d) Except for the situations listed in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of subdivision (b), nothing in this section precludes the application of Article 4.2 (commencing with Section 3250) when its application would be appropriate.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 272, Sec. 17. (AB 2729) Effective January 1, 2017.)

3209.
  

The provisions of Section 3207 as to termination and cancellation shall also apply to all bonds which have been heretofore filed with the supervisor as then provided by law.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 794.)

3210.
  

The owner or operator of any well shall keep, or cause to be kept, a careful and accurate log, core record, and history of the drilling of the well.

(Enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 93.)

3211.
  

The log shall show the character and depth of the formation passed through or encountered in the drilling of the well. The log shall show completely the amounts, kinds, and size of casing used, the depth at which oil-bearing or gas-bearing strata are encountered, the depth and character of the strata, and whether all water overlying and underlying the oil-bearing or gas-bearing strata was successfully and permanently shut off so as to prevent the percolation or penetration of water into the oil-bearing or gas-bearing strata; and whether strata bearing water that might be suitable for irrigation or domestic purposes are properly protected from the infiltration or addition of detrimental substances from the well.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 278, Sec. 6.)

3212.
  

The core record shall show the depth, character, and fluid content of cores obtained, so far as determined.

(Enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 93.)

3213.
  

The history shall show the location and amount of sidetracked casings, tools, or other material, the depth and quantity of cement in cement plugs, the shots of dynamite or other explosives, acid treatment data, and the results of production and other tests during drilling operations. All data on well stimulation treatments pursuant to Section 3160 shall be recorded in the history.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 313, Sec. 3. (SB 4) Effective January 1, 2014.)

3214.
  

The log shall be kept in the local office of the owner or operator, and, together with the tour reports of the owner or operator, shall be subject, during business hours, to the inspection of the supervisor, the district deputy, or the director.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1073.)

3215.
  

(a) Within 60 days after the date of cessation of drilling, rework, well stimulation treatment, or abandonment operations, or the date of suspension of operations, the operator shall file with the district deputy, in a form approved by the supervisor, true copies of the log, core record, and history of work performed, and, if made, true and reproducible copies of all electrical, physical, or chemical logs, tests, or surveys. Upon a showing of hardship, the supervisor may extend the time within which to comply with this section for a period not to exceed 60 additional days.

(b) The supervisor shall include information or electronic links to information provided pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 3160 on existing publicly accessible maps on the division’s Internet Web site, and make the information available such that well stimulation treatment and related information are associated with each specific well. If data is reported on an Internet Web site not maintained by the division pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (g) of Section 3160, the division shall provide electronic links to that Internet Web site. The public shall be able to search and sort the hydraulic well stimulation and related information by at least the following criteria:

(1) Geographic area.

(2) Additive.

(3) Chemical constituent.

(4) Chemical Abstract Service number.

(5) Time period.

(6) Operator.

(c) Notwithstanding Section 10231.5 of the Government Code, on or before July 30 of each year, the supervisor shall, in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code, prepare and transmit to the Legislature a comprehensive report on well stimulation treatments in the exploration and production of oil and gas resources in California. The report shall include aggregated data of all of the information required to be reported pursuant to Section 3160 reported by the district, county, and operator. The report also shall include relevant additional information, as necessary, including, but not limited to, all of the following:

(1) Aggregated data detailing the disposition of any produced water from wells that have undergone well stimulation treatments.

(2) Aggregated data describing the formations where wells have received well stimulation treatments including the range of safety factors used and fracture zone lengths.

(3) The number of emergency responses to a spill or release associated with a well stimulation treatment.

(4) Aggregated data detailing the number of times trade secret information was not provided to the public, by county and by each company, in the preceding year.

(5) Data detailing the loss of well and well casing integrity in the preceding year for wells that have undergone well stimulation treatment. For comparative purposes, data detailing the loss of well and well casing integrity in the preceding year for all wells shall also be provided. The cause of each well and well casing failure, if known, shall also be provided.

(6) The number of spot check inspections conducted pursuant to subdivision (l) of Section 3160, including the number of inspections where the composition of well stimulation fluids were verified and the results of those inspections.

(7) The number of well stimulation treatments witnessed by the division.

(8) The number of enforcement actions associated with well stimulation treatments, including, but not limited to, notices of deficiency, notices of violation, civil or criminal enforcement actions, and any penalties assessed.

(d) The report shall be made publicly available and an electronic version shall be available on the division’s Internet Web site.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 521, Sec. 56. (SB 809) Effective January 1, 2018.)

3216.
  

The owner or operator of any well, or his local agent, shall file with the supervisor a copy of the log, history, and core record, or any portion thereof, at any time after the commencement of the work of drilling any well upon written request of the supervisor, or the district deputy. The request shall be signed by the supervisor, or the district deputy, and served either personally, or by mailing a copy of the request, by registered mail, to the last known post office address of the owner or operator, or his agent.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1073.)

3217.
  

(a) (1) The supervisor shall continue the prohibition against Southern California Gas Company injecting any natural gas into the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility located in the County of Los Angeles until a comprehensive review of the safety of the gas storage wells at the facility is completed and the supervisor determines that well integrity has been ensured by the review, the risks of failures identified in the review have been addressed, and the supervisor’s duty to prevent damage to life, health, property, and natural resources, and other requirements, as specified in Section 3106, is satisfied. The supervisor may not lift the prohibition on injection until the Executive Director of the Public Utilities Commission has concurred via letter with the supervisor regarding his or her determination of safety.

(2) For purposes of this section, “facility” means the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility located in the County of Los Angeles operated by Southern California Gas Company.

(b) (1) The criteria for the gas storage well comprehensive safety review shall be determined by the supervisor with input from contracted independent experts and shall include the steps in subdivision (c).

(2) The supervisor shall direct the contracted independent experts to provide a methodology to be used in assessing the tests and inspections specified in the criteria. This requirement may be satisfied by the independent experts reviewing and, if necessary, revising the division’s written methodology for assessing the tests and inspections specified in the criteria. The methodology shall include all tests and inspections required by the criteria. The division shall post the methodology online on a public portion of its Internet Web site.

(c) The gas storage well comprehensive safety review shall include the following steps to ensure external and internal well mechanical integrity:

(1) All gas storage wells shall be tested and inspected from the surface to the packer or to any wellbore restriction near the top of the geologic formation being used for gas storage, whichever is higher in elevation, to detect existing leaks using temperature and noise logs.

(2) Any leaks shall be stopped and remediated to the satisfaction of the supervisor.

(3) Following remediation, leak detection tests shall be repeated and results reviewed by the supervisor.

(4) (A) Unless a well has been fully plugged and abandoned to the supervisor’s satisfaction and in accordance with Section 3208, the well shall be evaluated and remediated in accordance with subparagraph (B) or plugged in accordance with subparagraph (C).

(B) If a gas storage well is intended to return to service for the purposes of resuming injections to the facility, it shall be tested and inspected from the surface to the packer or to any wellbore restriction near the top of the geologic formation being used for gas storage, whichever is higher in elevation, to ensure mechanical integrity. As identified in the division’s criteria, these tests and inspections shall include the measurement of casing thickness and integrity, an evaluation of the cement bond on the casing, the determination as to whether any deformities in the well casing exist, and an evaluation of the well’s ability to withstand pressures that exceed maximum allowable injection and production pressures, with a reasonable margin for safety, at the facility in accordance with the criteria determined by the supervisor with input from independent experts pursuant to subdivision (b). If the tests reveal that a well poses a risk of failure, the supervisor shall require remediation and repeat tests as necessary to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the supervisor that remediation has mitigated any potential identified risks. If the operator cannot remediate the well to mitigate the identified risks to the satisfaction of the supervisor, the well shall be plugged and abandoned in accordance with Section 3208.

(C) (i) If a well is to be taken out of service before resumption of gas injections at the facility, it shall be removed from operation and isolated from the gas storage reservoir through plugging according to the division’s criteria, including, but not limited to, the demonstration of sufficient cement to prevent migrations between the reservoir and other zones, placement of a mechanical plug at the bottom of the well, and subsequent filling of the well with fluid, and to specifications approved by the supervisor. All gas storage wells that are taken out of service under this subparagraph shall be subjected to ongoing testing and monitoring requirements identified in the criteria determined by the supervisor with input from independent experts. The monitoring shall include, but not be limited to, real-time and daily pressure monitoring, as applicable. A gas storage well shall not be returned to service unless the testing and remediation required under subparagraph (B) has been completed.

(ii) A gas storage well, within one year of being plugged and isolated from the gas storage reservoir pursuant to clause (i), shall either be returned to service by satisfactorily completing the testing and remediation required under subparagraph (B) or be permanently plugged and abandoned to the supervisor’s satisfaction in accordance with Section 3208.

(D) The supervisor shall make a written finding for each gas storage well that has satisfactorily completed the testing and remediation required under subparagraph (B).

(5) The gas storage well comprehensive safety review is not complete until every gas storage well at the facility has completed the testing and remediation required under subparagraph (B) of paragraph (4), been temporarily abandoned and isolated from the reservoir as required under clause (i) of subparagraph (C) of paragraph (4), or been fully plugged and abandoned to the supervisor’s satisfaction in accordance with Section 3208.

(d) Upon completion of the gas storage well comprehensive safety review but before authorizing the commencement of injections at the facility, the division shall hold at least one duly noticed public meeting in the affected community to provide the public an opportunity to comment on the safety review findings and on the proposed pressure limit as provided in subdivision (e).

(e) (1) Before commencing injections at the facility, the operator of the facility shall provide the division with the proposed maximum reservoir pressure and include data and calculations supporting the basis for the pressure limit. The pressure limit shall account for the pressure required to inject intended gas volumes at all proposed inventory levels and the pressure limit shall not exceed the design pressure limits of the reservoir, wells, wellheads, piping, or associated facilities with an appropriate margin for safety.

(2) The operator’s proposed maximum reservoir pressure shall be subject to review and approval by the supervisor, and the supervisor shall consult with independent experts regarding the appropriate maximum and minimum reservoir pressure at the facility.

(f) Once the gas storage well comprehensive safety review is complete pursuant to paragraph (5) of subdivision (c), the supervisor has approved the maximum and minimum reservoir pressure pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (e), and the public hearing is held pursuant to subdivision (d), the supervisor may allow injections of natural gas at the facility.

(g) All gas storage wells returning to service pursuant to subdivision (f) shall only inject or produce gas through the interior metal tubing and not through the annulus between the tubing and the well casing. The operator shall also conduct ongoing pressure monitoring and comply with any other requirements specified by the supervisor.

(h) The gas storage wells at the facility that are plugged and abandoned in accordance with Section 3208 pursuant to this section shall be periodically inspected by the operator for leaks using effective gas leak detection techniques such as optical gas imaging.

(i) (1) Before the completion of the gas storage well comprehensive safety review, production of natural gas from gas storage wells at the facility shall be limited to gas storage wells that have satisfactorily completed the testing and remediation required under subparagraph (B) of paragraph (4) of subdivision (c) unless insufficient production capacity is available. Only if production capacity supplied by the tested and remediated wells is demonstrably insufficient may the supervisor allow other gas storage wells to be used.

(2) The supervisor shall direct the operator of the facility to provide a plan to ensure, at the earliest possible time, the availability of sufficient gas production capacity using gas storage wells that have satisfactorily completed the testing and remediation required under subparagraph (B) of paragraph (4) of subdivision (c).

(j) With respect to the gas storage well comprehensive safety review at the facility, all testing, inspection and monitoring results reported to the division, gas storage well compliance status, any required remediation steps, and other safety review-related materials shall be posted in a timely manner by the division online on a public portion of its Internet Web site.

(k) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2021, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2021, deletes or extends that date.

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 14, Sec. 1. (SB 380) Effective May 10, 2016. Repealed as of January 1, 2021, by its own provisions.)

3219.
  

Any person engaged in operating any oil or gas well wherein high pressure gas is known to exist, and any person drilling for oil or gas in any district where the pressure of oil or gas is unknown shall equip the well with casings of sufficient strength, and with such other safety devices as may be necessary, in accordance with methods approved by the supervisor, and shall use every effort and endeavor effectually to prevent blowouts, explosions, and fires.

(Enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 93.)

3219.5.
  

(a) On or before July 1, 2001, the Department of Conservation shall report to the Governor and the Legislature on options for ensuring the existence of blowout insurance for persons engaged in drilling or redrilling exploratory oil and gas wells in areas where abnormally high or unknown subsurface pressure gradients exist. The report shall consider all of the following:

(1) Types of insurance policies, which include control of well policies and policies that cover personal injury and property damage resulting from a catastrophic well blowout occurrence.

(2) Methods of setting insurance policy amounts.

(3) Forms of insurance, including third-party insurance, provision of an operator’s proof of ability to respond in damages, a combination thereof, or other options.

(4) Areas of the state where abnormally high pressure gradients exist, or where insufficient data exists to draw conclusions regarding the subsurface pressure gradient.

(5) Any other factors the department deems appropriate to include in the report.

(b) The Department of Conservation shall consult with representatives of the oil industry and insurers in developing the report’s recommendations.

(Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 737, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2001.)

3220.
  

The owner or operator of any well on lands producing or reasonably presumed to contain oil or gas shall properly case it with water-tight and adequate casing, in accordance with methods approved by the supervisor or the district deputy, and shall, under his direction, shut off all water overlying and underlying oil-bearing or gas-bearing strata and prevent any water from penetrating such strata. The owner or operator shall also use every effort and endeavor to prevent damage to life, health, property, and natural resources; to shut out detrimental substances from strata containing water suitable for irrigation or domestic purposes and from surface water suitable for such purposes; and to prevent the infiltration of detrimental substances into such strata and into such surface water.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 795.)

3222.
  

The owner or operator of any well shall, at the request of the supervisor, demonstrate that water from any well is not penetrating oil-bearing or gas-bearing strata or that detrimental substances are not infiltrating into underground or surface water suitable for irrigation or domestic purposes. The owner or operator shall give the district deputy adequate notice of the time at which he will demonstrate the test for shutoff in the well.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 795.)

3223.
  

The district deputy or an inspector designated by the supervisor may be present at the test for shutoff. If the test is personally witnessed by the district deputy or an inspector at the site of the well, such district deputy or inspector shall make a report in writing of the result to the supervisor. A duplicate of the report shall be delivered to the owner.

If any test is unsatisfactory to the supervisor, he shall so notify the owner or operator and shall within five days after the completion of the test, order any additional work and tests necessary to properly shut off the well. In the order the supervisor shall designate a day upon which the owner or operator shall again test for shutoff, which day may, upon the application of the owner or operator, be changed from time to time at the discretion of the district deputy.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 795.)

3224.
  

The supervisor shall order such tests or remedial work as in his judgment are necessary to prevent damage to life, health, property, and natural resources; to protect oil and gas deposits from damage by underground water; or to prevent the escape of water into underground formations, or to prevent the infiltration of detrimental substances into underground or surface water suitable for irrigation or domestic purposes, to the best interests of the neighboring property owners and the public. The order shall be in writing, signed by the supervisor. It shall be served upon the owner of the well, or his local agent, either personally or by mailing a copy of the order to the post office address given at the time the local agent is designated. If no local agent has been designated, the order shall be served by mailing a copy to the last known post office address of the owner, or if the owner is unknown, by posting a copy in a conspicuous place upon the property, and publishing it once a week for two successive weeks in some newspaper of general circulation throughout the county in which the well is located. The order shall specify the conditions sought to be remedied and the work necessary to protect such deposits from damage from underground water.

(Amended by Stats. 1970, Ch. 799.)

3225.
  

(a) An order of the supervisor or a district deputy issued pursuant to this chapter shall provide a clear and concise recitation of the acts or omissions with which the operator is charged. The order shall state all penalties and requirements imposed on the operator in connection with the acts or omissions charged and the order shall provide references to the provisions of this code and the regulations that support the imposition of the penalties and requirements.

(b) An order requiring an operator to cease and desist operations pursuant to Section 3270.3 shall specify the operations that the operator is required to cease and desist and shall provide a detailed explanation of the steps that the operator shall take before the supervisor will permit the operations to resume.

(c) An order of the supervisor or a district deputy shall be in writing and shall be served on the operator by personal service or by certified mail.

(d) When the supervisor or a district deputy issues a written order concerning an operation, an appeal may be made from the order pursuant to the procedures contained in Article 6 (commencing with Section 3350). The order shall inform the operator of its right to appeal the order.

(Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 264, Sec. 1. (AB 2453) Effective January 1, 2011.)

3226.
  

Within 30 days after service of an order pursuant to Sections 3224 and 3225, or Section 3237, or if there has been an appeal from the order to the director, within 30 days after service of the decision of the director, or if a review has been taken of the order of the director, within 10 days after affirmance of the order, the owner or operator shall commence in good faith the work ordered and continue it until completion. If the work has not been commenced and continued to completion, the supervisor may appoint necessary agents to enter the premises and perform the work. An accurate account of the expenditures shall be kept. Any amount so expended shall constitute a lien against real or personal property of the operator pursuant to the provisions of Section 3423.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of Section 3224, 3225, or 3237, if the supervisor determines that an emergency exists, the supervisor may order or undertake the actions he or she deems necessary to protect life, health, property, or natural resources.

(Amended by Stats. 2000, Ch. 737, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 2001.)

3226.3.
  

The division shall annually provide to the State Water Resources Control Board and the California regional water quality control boards an inventory of all unlined oil and gas field sumps.

(Added by Stats. 2014, Ch. 561, Sec. 1. (SB 1281) Effective January 1, 2015.)

3227.
  

(a) The owner of any well shall file with the supervisor, on or before the last day of each month, for the last preceding calendar month, a statement, in the form designated by the supervisor, showing all of the following:

(1) The amount of oil and gas produced from each well during the period indicated, together with the gravity of the oil, the amount of water produced from each well, estimated in accordance with methods approved by the supervisor, and the number of days during which fluid was produced from each well.

(2) The number of wells drilling, producing, injecting, or idle, that are owned or operated by the person.

(3) What disposition was made of the gas produced from each field, including the names of persons, if any, to whom the gas was delivered, and any other information regarding the gas and its disposition that the supervisor may require.

(4) What disposition was made of water produced from each field and the amount of fluid or gas injected into each well used for enhanced recovery, underground storage of hydrocarbons, or wastewater disposal, and any other information regarding those wells that the supervisor may require.

(5) The source of water, and volume of any water, reported in paragraph (4), including the water used to generate or make up the composition of any injected fluid or gas. Water volumes shall be reported by water source if more than one water source is used. The volume of untreated water suitable for domestic or irrigation purposes shall be reported. Commingled water shall be proportionally assigned to individual wells, as appropriate.

(6) The treatment of water and the use of treated or recycled water in oil and gas field activities, including, but not limited to, exploration, development, and production.

(7) (A) The specific disposition of all water used in or generated by oil and gas field activities, including water produced from each well reported pursuant to paragraph (1). Water volumes shall be reported by disposition method if more than one disposition method is used. Commingled water shall be proportionally assigned to individual wells, as appropriate.

(B) This information shall also include the temporary onsite storage of water, as or if appropriate, and the ultimate specific use, disposal method or method of recycling, or reuse of this water.

(b) Any operator that produces oil by the application of mining or other unconventional techniques shall file a report with the supervisor, on or before March 1 of each year, showing the amount of oil produced by those techniques in the preceding calendar year.

(c) (1) Upon request and making a satisfactory showing therefor, a longer filing period may be established by the supervisor for any particular owner or operator.

(2) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the owner of any well shall file with the supervisor, on a quarterly basis, a statement containing the information required to be reported pursuant to paragraphs (5), (6), and (7) of subdivision (a) in the form designated by the supervisor.

(d) The division shall use a standardized form or format to facilitate reporting required pursuant to this section.

(e) The division shall use noncustom software, as feasible, to implement online reporting by the operator of the information required pursuant to paragraphs (5), (6), and (7) of subdivision (a). This information may be reported separately from other information required to be reported pursuant to this section.

(f) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) “Source of water” or “water source” means any of the following:

(A) The well or wells, if commingled, from which the water was produced or extracted.

(B) The water supplier, if purchased or obtained from a supplier.

(C) The point of diversion of surface water.

(2) “Specific disposition of all water” means the identification of the ultimate specific use, disposal method or method of recycling, or reuse of the water. This includes, but is not limited to, the identification of any treatment or recycling method used, injection of the water into specific injection or disposal well or wells, if commingled, discharge of the water to surface water or sumps, and sale or transfer of the water to a named entity.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 561, Sec. 2. (SB 1281) Effective January 1, 2015.)

3227.5.
  

The supervisor shall compile from statements filed pursuant to Section 3227 and publish monthly statistics, within 90 days of the end of each calendar month, showing the amount of oil and gas produced in the state by field and pool, together with the number of wells producing or idle, all separately stated as to field and pool, with any other information that the supervisor deems proper.

(Added by Stats. 1981, Ch. 741, Sec. 8.)

3227.6.
  

As used in Sections 3227 and 3227.5, the following terms have the following meaning:

(a) “Field” means the same general surface area which is underlain, or reasonably appears to be underlain, by one or more pools.

(b) “Pool” means an underground reservoir containing, or appearing at the time of determination to contain, a common accumulation of crude petroleum oil or natural gas or both. Each zone of a general structure which is separated from any other zone in the structure is a separate pool.

(Added by Stats. 1981, Ch. 741, Sec. 9.)

3228.
  

Before abandoning any well in accordance with methods approved by the supervisor or the district deputy, and under his or her direction, the owner or operator shall isolate all oil-bearing or gas-bearing strata encountered in the well and shall use every effort and endeavor to protect any underground or surface water suitable for irrigation or domestic purposes from the infiltration or addition of any detrimental substances.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 278, Sec. 8.)

3229.
  

Before commencing any work to abandon any well, the owner or operator shall file with the supervisor or the district deputy a written notice of intention to abandon the well. Abandonment shall not proceed until approval is given by the supervisor or the district deputy. If the supervisor or the district deputy does not give the owner or operator a written response to the notice of intention within 10 working days, the proposed abandonment shall be deemed to have been approved and the notice of intention shall for the purposes of this chapter be deemed a written report of the supervisor. If abandonment operations have not commenced within one year of receipt of the notice of intention, the notice of intention shall be deemed canceled.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1973, Ch. 743.)

3230.
  

The notice of intention to abandon shall contain the following information:

(a) The total depth of the well to be abandoned.

(b) The complete casing record of the well, including plugs.

(c) Such other pertinent data as the supervisor may require on printed forms supplied by the division or on other forms acceptable to the supervisor.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1973, Ch. 743.)

3232.
  

The supervisor or the district deputy shall, within 10 days after the receipt of a written report of abandonment, furnish the owner or operator with a written final approval of abandonment, or a written disapproval of abandonment, setting forth the conditions upon which the disapproval is based.

Failure to abandon in accordance with the approved method of abandonment, or failure to notify the supervisor or the district deputy of any test required by the final approval of abandonment to be witnessed by the supervisor, the district deputy, or his or her inspector, or failure to furnish the supervisor or the district deputy, at his or her request, with any information regarding the condition of the well, shall constitute sufficient grounds for disapproval of the abandonment.

(Amended by Stats. 1988, Ch. 1077, Sec. 8.)

3233.
  

(a) The division may develop field rules which establish volumetric thresholds for emergency reporting by the operator of oil discharges to land associated with onshore drilling, exploration, or production operations, where the oil discharges, because of the circumstances established pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (c), cannot pass into or threaten the waters of the state. The division may not adopt field rules under this section, unless the State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Fish and Game first concur with the volumetric reporting thresholds contained in the proposed field rules. Subchapter 1 (commencing with Section 1710) of Chapter 4 of Division 2 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations shall apply to the adoption and implementation of field rules authorized by this section.

(b) The authority granted to the division pursuant to subdivision (a) shall apply solely to oil fields located in the San Joaquin Valley, as designated by the division. The division shall adopt the field rules not later than January 1, 1998.

(c) For purposes of implementing this section, the division, the State Water Resources Control Board, and the Department of Fish and Game shall enter into an agreement that defines the process for establishing both of the following:

(1) The circumstances, such as engineered containment, under which oil discharges cannot pass into or threaten the waters of this state.

(2) The volumetric reporting thresholds that are applicable under the circumstances established pursuant to paragraph (1).

(d) In no case shall a reporting threshold established in the field rules, where the oil discharge cannot pass into or threaten the waters of this state, be less than one barrel (42 gallons), unless otherwise established by federal law or regulation. Until field rules are adopted, emergency reporting of oil discharges shall continue as required by existing statute and regulations.

(e) An operator who discharges oil in amounts less than the volumetric thresholds adopted by the division pursuant to this section is exempt from all applicable state and local reporting requirements. Discharges of oil in amounts equal to, or greater than, the volumetric thresholds adopted by the division pursuant to this section shall be immediately reported to the Office of Emergency Services which shall inform the division and other local or state agencies as required by Section 8589.7 of the Government Code. Reporting to the Office of Emergency Services shall be deemed to be in compliance with all applicable state and local reporting requirements.

(f) Oil discharges below the reporting thresholds established in the field rules shall be exempt from the emergency notification or reporting requirements, and any penalties provided for nonreporting, established under paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 13260 of the Water Code, subdivisions (a), (c), and (e) of Section 13272 of the Water Code, Section 25507 of the Health and Safety Code, Sections 8670.25.5 and 51018 of the Government Code, and subdivision (h) of Section 1722 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations. Oil discharge reporting requirements under Section 51018 of the Government Code shall be applicable if a spill involves a fire or explosion.

(g) This section shall not affect existing reporting or notification requirements under federal law.

(h) Nothing in this section shall be construed to relieve any party of any responsibility established by statute, regulation, or order, to clean up or remediate any oil discharge, whether reportable or exempt pursuant to this section.

(i) Reporting provided pursuant to this section is not intended to prohibit any department or agency from seeking and obtaining any supplemental postreporting information to which the department or agency might otherwise be entitled.

(j) For purposes of this section, “oil” means naturally occurring crude oil.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 352, Sec. 479. (AB 1317) Effective September 26, 2013. Operative July 1, 2013, by Sec. 543 of Ch. 352.)

3234.
  

(a) (1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, all the well records, including production reports, of any owner or operator which are filed pursuant to this chapter are public records for purposes of the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code).

(2) Those records are public records when filed with the division unless the owner or operator requests, in writing, that the division maintain the well records of onshore exploratory wells or offshore exploratory wells as confidential information. The records of other wells may be maintained as confidential information if, based upon information in a written request of the owner or operator, the supervisor determines there are extenuating circumstances. For onshore wells, the confidential period shall not exceed two years from the cessation of drilling operations as defined in subdivision (e). For offshore wells, the confidential period shall not exceed five years from the cessation of drilling operations as specified in subdivision (e).

(3) Well records maintained as confidential information by the division shall be open to inspection by those persons who are authorized by the owner or operator in writing. Confidential status shall not apply to state officers charged with regulating well operations, the director, or as provided in subdivision (c).

(4) On receipt by the supervisor of a written request documenting extenuating circumstances relating to a particular well, including a well on an expired or terminated lease, the supervisor may extend the period of confidentiality for six months. For onshore wells, the total period of confidentiality, including all extensions, shall not exceed four years from the cessation of drilling operations as specified in subdivision (e), and for offshore wells the total period of confidentiality, including all extensions, shall not exceed seven years from the cessation of drilling operations as specified in subdivision (e), unless the director approves a longer period after a 30-day public notice and comment period. The director shall initiate and conduct a public hearing on receipt of a written complaint.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) regarding the period of confidentiality, the well records for onshore and offshore wells shall become public records when the supervisor is notified that the lease has expired or terminated.

(c) Production reports filed pursuant to Section 3227 shall be open to inspection by the State Board of Equalization or its duly appointed representatives when making a survey pursuant to Section 1815 of the Revenue and Taxation Code or when valuing state-assessed property pursuant to Section 755 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, and by the assessor of the county in which a well referred to in Section 3227 is located.

(d) For the purposes of this section, “well records” does not include either experimental logs and tests or interpretive data not generally available to all operators, as defined by the supervisor by regulation.

(e) The cessation of drilling operations occurs on the date of removal of drilling machinery from the well site.

(Amended by Stats. 1993, Ch. 1179, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1994.)

3235.
  

The supervisor may upon his own initiative or shall upon receipt of a written complaint from a person owning land or operating wells within a radius of one mile of any well or group of wells complained against make an investigation of the well or wells involved. The supervisor shall make a written report and order, stating the work required to repair the damage complained of, or stating that no work is required.

A copy of the order shall be delivered to the complainant, or if more than one, to each complainant, and, if the supervisor orders the damage repaired, a copy of the order shall be delivered to each of the owners, operators, or agents having in charge the well or wells upon which the work is to be done.

The order shall contain a statement of the conditions sought to be remedied or repaired and a statement of the work required by the supervisor to repair the condition. Service shall be made by mailing copies to such persons at the post office address given.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 813.)

3236.
  

Any owner or operator, or employee thereof, who refuses to permit the supervisor or the district deputy, or his inspector, to inspect a well, or who willfully hinders or delays the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, and every person, whether as principal, agent, servant, employee, or otherwise, who violates, fails, neglects, or refuses to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter, or who fails or neglects or refuses to furnish any report or record which may be required pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, or who willfully renders a false or fraudulent report, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100), nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment for not exceeding six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, for each such offense.

(Amended by Stats. 1983, Ch. 1092, Sec. 336. Effective September 27, 1983. Operative January 1, 1984, by Sec. 427 of Ch. 1092.)

3236.5.
  

(a) A person who violates this chapter or a regulation implementing this chapter is, at the supervisor’s discretion, subject to a civil penalty as described in subdivision (b) for each violation. An act of God and an act of vandalism beyond the reasonable control of the operator shall not be considered a violation. The civil penalty shall be imposed by an order of the supervisor pursuant to Section 3225 upon a determination that a violation has been committed by the person charged. The imposition of a civil penalty under this section shall be in addition to any other penalty provided by law for the violation. When establishing the amount of the civil penalty pursuant to this section, the supervisor shall consider, in addition to other relevant circumstances, all of the following:

(1) The extent of harm caused by the violation.

(2) The persistence of the violation.

(3) The pervasiveness of the violation.

(4) The number of prior violations by the same violator.

(5) The degree of culpability of the violator.

(6) Any economic benefit to the violator resulting from the violation.

(7) The violator’s ability to pay the civil penalty amount, as determined based on information publicly available to the division.

(8) The supervisor’s prosecution costs.

(b) (1) (A) A “well stimulation violation” is a violation of Article 3 (commencing with Section 3150) or the regulations implementing that article.

(B) The civil penalty amount for a well stimulation violation shall be not less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per day per violation and not more than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) per day per violation.

(2) (A) A “major violation” is a violation that is not a well stimulation violation and that is one or more of the following:

(i) A violation that results in harm to persons or property or presents a significant threat to human health or the environment.

(ii) A knowing, willful, or intentional violation.

(iii) A chronic violation or one that is committed by a recalcitrant violator. In determining whether a violation is chronic or a violator is recalcitrant, the supervisor shall consider whether there is evidence indicating that the violator has engaged in a pattern of neglect or disregard with respect to applicable requirements.

(iv) A violation where the violator derived significant economic benefit, either by significantly reduced costs or a significant competitive advantage.

(B) The civil penalty amount for a major violation shall be not less than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) per violation and not more than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) per violation.

(3) (A) A “minor violation” is a violation that is neither a well stimulation violation nor a major violation.

(B)  The civil penalty amount for a minor violation shall be not more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) per violation.

(4) At the supervisor’s discretion, each day a major or minor violation continues or is not cured may be treated as a separate violation.

(c) An order of the supervisor imposing a civil penalty shall be reviewable pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 3350). When the order of the supervisor has become final and the penalty has not been paid, the supervisor may apply to the appropriate superior court for an order directing payment of the civil penalty. The supervisor may also seek from the court an order directing that production from the well or use of the production facility that is the subject of the civil penalty order be discontinued until the violation has been remedied to the satisfaction of the supervisor and the civil penalty has been paid.

(d) The supervisor may allow a supplemental environmental project in lieu of a portion of the civil penalty amount. The supplemental environmental project may not be more than 50 percent of the total civil penalty amount. Any amount collected under this section that is not allocated for a supplemental environmental project shall be deposited in the Oil and Gas Environmental Remediation Account established pursuant to Section 3261, until January 1, 2021. Commencing January 1, 2021, any amount collected under this section that is not allocated for a supplemental environmental project shall be deposited into the Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Administrative Fund.

(e) “Supplemental environmental project” means an environmentally beneficial project that a person, subject to an order of the supervisor imposing a civil penalty, voluntarily agrees to undertake in settlement of the action and to offset a portion of a civil penalty.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 274, Sec. 1. (AB 2756) Effective January 1, 2017.)

3237.
  

(a) (1) The supervisor or district deputy may order the plugging and abandonment of a well or the decommissioning of a production facility that has been deserted whether or not any damage is occurring or threatened by reason of that deserted well or production facility. The supervisor or district deputy shall determine from credible evidence whether a well or production facility is deserted.

(2) For purposes of paragraph (1), “credible evidence” includes, but is not limited to, the operational history of the well or production facility, the response or lack of response of the operator to inquiries and requests from the supervisor or district deputy, the extent of compliance by the operator with the requirements of this chapter, and other actions of the operator with regard to the well or production facility.

(3) A rebuttable presumption of desertion arises in any of the following situations:

(A) If a well has not been completed to production or injection and drilling machinery have been removed from the well site for at least six months.

(B) If a well’s production facilities or injection equipment has been removed from the well site for at least two years.

(C) If an operator has failed to comply with an order of the supervisor within the time provided by the order or has failed to challenge the order on a timely basis.

(D) If an operator fails to designate an agent as required by Section 3200.

(E) If a person who is to acquire a well or production facility that is subject to a purchase, transfer, assignment, conveyance, exchange, or other disposition fails to comply with Section 3202.

(F) If an operator has failed to maintain the access road to a well or production facility site passable to oilfield and emergency vehicles.

(4) The operator may rebut the presumptions of desertion set forth in paragraph (3) by demonstrating with credible evidence compliance with this division and that the well or production facility has the potential for commercial production, including specific and detailed plans for future operations, and by providing a reasonable timetable for putting those plans into effect. The operator may rebut the presumption set forth in subparagraph (F) of paragraph (3) by repairing the access road.

(b) An order to plug and abandon a deserted well or to decommission a production facility may be appealed to the director pursuant to the procedures specified in Article 6 (commencing with Section 3350).

(c) (1) The current operator, as determined by the records of the supervisor, of a deserted well that produced oil, gas, or other hydrocarbons or was used for injection is responsible for the proper plugging and abandonment of the well or the decommissioning of deserted production facilities. If the supervisor determines that the current operator does not have the financial resources to fully cover the cost of plugging and abandoning the well or the decommissioning of deserted production facilities, the immediately preceding operator shall be responsible for the cost of plugging and abandoning the well or the decommissioning of deserted production facilities.

(2) The supervisor may continue to look seriatim to previous operators until an operator is found that the supervisor determines has the financial resources to cover the cost of plugging and abandoning the well or decommissioning deserted production facilities. However, the supervisor may not hold an operator responsible that made a valid transfer of ownership of the well prior to January 1, 1996.

(3) For purposes of this subdivision, “operator” includes a mineral interest owner who shall be held jointly liable for the well and attendant production facilities if the mineral interest owner has or had leased or otherwise conveyed the working interest in the well to another person, if in the lease or other conveyance, the mineral interest owner retained a right to control the well operations that exceeds the scope of an interest customarily reserved in a lease or other conveyance in the event of a default.

(4) No prior operator is liable for any of the costs of plugging and abandoning a well or decommissioning deserted production facilities by a subsequent operator if those costs are necessitated by the subsequent operator’s illegal operation of a well or production facility.

(5) If the supervisor is unable to determine that an operator who acquired ownership of a well after January 1, 1996, has the financial resources to fully cover the costs of plugging and abandonment of the well or decommissioning deserted production facilities, the supervisor may undertake plugging and abandonment of the well or decommissioning deserted production facilities pursuant to Article 4.2 (commencing with Section 3250).

(d) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the supervisor or district deputy, at his or her sole discretion, may determine that a well that has been idle for 25 years or more and that fails to meet either of the following conditions is conclusive evidence of desertion, and may order the well abandoned:

(A) The operator is operating in compliance with a valid idle well management plan that is on file with the supervisor pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 3206 or is covered by an indemnity bond provided under Section 3204, subdivision (a) of Section 3205, or subdivision (a) of Section 3205.2.

(B) The well meets the relevant testing standards for idle wells required under the regulations implementing this chapter.

(2) The supervisor or district deputy shall provide the operator a 90-day notice of warning once a determination has been reached pursuant to this subdivision that a well has been deserted. An operator may rebut the determination, made pursuant to paragraph (1), of the supervisor or district deputy by demonstrating compliance with subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1).

(3) An order to plug and abandon a deserted well under this section due to the supervisor’s or district deputy’s determination of an operator’s noncompliance with either subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) may be appealed to the director pursuant to the procedures specified in Article 6 (commencing with Section 3350).

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 652, Sec. 4. (SB 724) Effective January 1, 2018.)

3238.
  

(a) For oil and gas produced in this state from a well that qualifies under Section 3251 or that has been inactive for a period of at least the preceding five consecutive years, the rate of the charges imposed pursuant to Sections 3402 and 3403 shall be reduced to zero for a period of 10 years. The supervisor or district deputy shall not permit an operator to undertake any work on wells qualifying under Section 3251 unless the mineral rights owner consents, in writing, to the work plan.

(b) An operator who undertakes any work on a well qualifying under Section 3251 shall have up to 90 days from the date the operator receives written consent from the supervisor to evaluate the well. On or before the 90 day evaluation period ends, the operator shall file with the supervisor a bond or security in an amount specified in Section 3204, 3205, or 3205.1, in accordance with the requirements of whichever of those sections is applicable to the well, if the well operations are to continue for a period in excess of the 90-day evaluation period. The conditions of the bond shall be the same as the conditions stated in Section 3204.

(c) A party may plug and abandon a well that qualifies under Section 3251 by obtaining all necessary rights to the well. That party shall be subject to the requirements of this chapter as an operator of the well, file with the supervisor the appropriate bond or security in an amount specified in Section 3204, 3205, or 3205.1, and complete the abandonment. If the abandonment is not completed, the supervisor may act under Section 3226 to complete the work.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 272, Sec. 18. (AB 2729) Effective January 1, 2017.)

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