New Ohio Oil & Gas Drilling Rules Coming January 2012

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is finalizing new state oversight rules on well construction for oil and natural gas that it says will be among the toughest in the U.S. (a copy of the proposed new rules is embedded below). According to ODNR officials, the new rules do not specifically address hydraulic fracturing, although the new rules will apply to horizontally drilled and fracked wells as well as conventional vertical wells. New fracking rules, according to the ODNR, “will be addressed later.”

The highly technical rules are comprehensive, covering all aspects of well construction from piping, casing, testing and pressures associated with wells, spokeswoman Heidi Hetzel-Evans said.

The document will cover everything from the type of steel and concrete that must be used in wells to how long the concrete should set to drilling near underground mines, she said.

“We’re definitely strengthening the rules, not reducing or relaxing them,” Hetzel- Evans said.*

So far, ODNR has received several dozen comments on the new rules. Ohio residents and others who are interested can comment on the proposed new rules to the ODNR until Jan. 13, 2012. Shortly after that, the document will be finalized and submitted to Ohio’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, a panel of state legislators, for final approval.

*The Akron Beacon Journal (Dec 21, 2011) – Final days to share views on Ohio’s potential rules for construction of oil wells