Permits are required for ground-disturbing geophysical exploration, exploration wells, development wells and gathering pipelines.
- Applicants for permits are required to notify parties who may be directly affected by the proposed operation, including surface owners, coal owners and mineral owners.
- These parties have the right to object to permits on specific grounds that are outlined in the law.
- Applicants also must inform local governments, and publish notices of their applications in at least one newspaper of general circulation which is published in the county, city or town where the well is proposed to be located.
- Applications must contain a description of all aspects of any operation that is proposed.
Operation plans must include a description of the following:
- The pre-development condition of the site
- The construction to be undertaken on the site including information on acreage to be disturbed, blasting activities, proposed new roads, and existing access roads
- The erosion and sediment control plan
- All well site equipment and facilities
- The design and operation of any pits
- The drilling and stimulating plan, including information on the water and constituents of the drilling fluids
- Management and disposal of pit fluids, produced waters, drill cuttings and solids
Gas and Oil reviews all applications and may deny a permit or require the applicant to submit more information or amend the proposed operation plan to ensure that the operator will comply with the law and regulation. Applicants must post a bond to guarantee that money is available for site reclamation and plugging should the operator fail to perform the work. The operator may not begin site work until Gas and Oil issues a permit.
For operators drilling horizontal wells in southwest Virginia, the Virginia Gas and Oil Board (VGOB) has established special requirements to establish drilling units and apply for permits. These requirements are detailed in the Southwest Virginia Horizontal-1 (SWVH-1) Drilling Pool Field Rules, approved in December 2011. Gas and Oil has provided guidelines for SWVH-1 horizontal well permit application submittals.