78.401.    Storage well construction.
78.402.    Inspections by the gas storage operator.
78.403.    Gas storage well integrity testing.
78.404.    Maximum storage pressure.
78.405.    Emergency repairs.
78.406.    Recordkeeping.
78.407.    Plugging gas storage wells.


   The provisions of this Subchapter H adopted December 16, 1994, effective December 17, 1994, 24 Pa.B. 6284, unless otherwise noted.

Cross References

   This section cited in 25 Pa. Code §  78.88 (relating to mechanical integrity of operating wells).

§ 78.401. Storage well construction.

 (a)  In addition to the casing and cementing requirements of Subchapter D (relating to well drilling, operation and plugging), when constructing new gas storage wells the operator shall:

   (1)  Cement the surface and intermediate casings with sufficient cement to circulate cement to the surface or to equal at least 120% of the calculated volume to fill the annular space on the outside of the casing.

   (2)  Cement the production casing with sufficient cement to fill the calculated annular space with cement to a point at least 500 feet above the casing shoe and at least 200 feet above the upper most perforations.

 (b)  Gas storage wells being reconditioned shall meet the requirements of this section unless an alternate method of casing and cementing has been approved by the Department under §  78.75 (relating to alternative methods).

 (c)  The storage operator shall give the Department notice at least 15 days prior to reconditioning or altering a gas storage well and describe the procedure that the operator will use to recondition or alter the gas storage well. If no objections are raised by the Department within 10 days, the operator may proceed to recondition or alter the well as proposed. The operator shall submit an updated well record within 30 days of completing a reconditioning or alteration.

Cross References

   This section cited in 25 Pa. Code §  78.405 (relating to emergency repairs).

§ 78.402. Inspections by the gas storage operator.

 (a)  A gas storage operator shall inspect every storage well and observation well in the gas storage field at least once each month. The results of the inspections shall be recorded and retained by the operator and shall be available for review by the Department and the coal owner or operator.

 (b)  Inspections at a minimum shall determine:

   (1)  The well-head pressure or water level measurement, as appropriate.

   (2)  The open flow on the annulus of the production casing or the annulus pressure if the annulus is shut in.

   (3)  If there is evidence of gas escaping from a well using measurement or best estimate of quantity.

   (4)  If there is evidence of progressive corrosion, rusting or other signs of equipment deterioration.

 (c)  Storage operators shall inspect the gas storage reservoir and storage protective area at least annually to discover if material changes have occurred that require an amendment or supplement of the map and data as required in section 301(a) and (b) of the act (58 P. S. §  601.301(a) and (b)). As part of that inspection, gas storage operators shall inspect known abandoned wells and plugged wells within the gas storage reservoir area and the gas storage protective area, subject to the right of entry, at the end of the injection season when the storage pressure is at its highest. The inspection record shall include observed evidence of gas leaking and other conditions that may be hazardous to the public or property.

 (d)  Evidence of a new gas leak and leaks that exceed 5,000 cubic feet per day shall be reported to the Department within 24 hours. Following notification, the gas storage reservoir operator shall file a written report including corrective action taken, or planned, and a detailed explanation of the problem within 10 days. Subsequent reports describing additional corrective action and acquired data may be requested by the Department.

Cross References

   This section cited in 25 Pa. Code §  78.403 (relating to gas storage well integrity testing); and 25 Pa. Code §  78.406 (relating to recordkeeping).

§ 78.403. Gas storage well integrity testing.

 (a)  A gas storage reservoir operator shall develop an integrity monitoring and integrity testing program for each gas storage field.

 (b)  A gas storage reservoir operator shall test the integrity of each gas storage well at least once every 5 years. By June 15, 1995, each gas storage operator shall submit, for Department approval, an integrity testing plan for each gas storage field.

 (c)  The testing program may consist of geophysical well logging, pressure testing or other procedures approved by the Department. The testing program shall indicate a well’s integrity, whether there has been gas loss in quantities in excess of those amounts in §  78.402(d) (relating to inspections by the gas storage operator), and whether there is a well condition that requires reconditioning, plugging or other remedial action.

 (d)  Gas storage field monitoring may consist of annular and tubing pressure monitoring, reservoir engineering evaluation in the form of pressure/volume inventory studies, gauge calibration programs, wellsite inspection programs, casing inspection programs, pressure and flow testing programs, internal and external inventory auditing programs or a combination of monitoring procedures approved by the Department that verify the gas storage reservoir’s integrity.

 (e)  The gas storage reservoir operator shall retain the information gathered in subsections (a)—(d) and shall make the information available to the Department for 15 years.

 (f)  For an observation well for which a gas storage operator does not retain monitoring data, the gas storage operator shall plug the well or apply for inactive status.

 (g)  The Department may require the operator to perform additional tests it deems necessary after a conference is held under section 501 of the act (58 P. S. §  601.501).

Cross References

   This section cited in 25 Pa. Code §  78.406 (relating to recordkeeping).

§ 78.404. Maximum storage pressure.

 A gas storage reservoir operator, who has not requested approval of a maximum storage pressure for a gas storage reservoir, shall request, by February 15, 1995, Department approval of a maximum gas storage reservoir pressure in accordance with the following:

   (1)  The maximum shut-in wellhead pressure (psig) may not exceed the highest shut-in wellhead pressure (psig) found to exist during the production history of the reservoir, unless a higher pressure is established through testing of caprock and pool containment. The methods used for determining the higher pressure shall be determined in conference with the Department in accordance with section 501 of the act.

   (2)  If the original discovery shut-in wellhead pressure (psig) is not known, or the highest production shut-in wellhead pressure (psig) is not known, or a higher pressure has not been established through a method as approved by the Department as established in paragraph (1), the maximum storage reservoir pressure shall be limited to a freshwater hydrostatic gradient.

§ 78.405. Emergency repairs.

 When emergency repairs are necessary, prior notification under §  78.401(c) (relating to storage well construction) is not required. The operator shall give notice to the Department within 24 hours of the repairs. Within 5 days of the emergency, the operator shall submit a written explanation of the emergency and the corrective action taken, or planned. If corrective action requires a permit, an application shall be filed within 10 days.

§ 78.406. Recordkeeping.

 (a)  The gas storage reservoir operator shall retain records for each gas storage well and shall make these records available to the Department. These records shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

   (1)  Well inspection results and pressure data for the preceding 7 years.

   (2)  Integrity testing data for each gas storage well required by §  78.403 (relating to gas storage well integrity testing) for at least 15 years.

 (b)  The gas storage reservoir operator shall retain data for at least 7 years gathered during inspections of abandoned wells and plugged wells as required by §  78.402 (relating to inspections by the gas storage operator) and shall make these records available to the Department.

§ 78.407. Plugging gas storage wells.

 In addition to complying with the plugging requirements in § §  78.91—78.98 (relating to plugging), the gas storage reservoir operator shall:

   (1)  Notify the Department of an intent to plug a gas storage well at least 15 days before beginning to plug the well. This notice shall describe the intended plugging procedure.

   (2)  Clean out the portions of the well that penetrate the storage horizon.

   (3)  Set cement across the perforations in a manner that prevents the migration of gas or other fluids within or outside of the well.

   (4)  For an open hole, set a bridge plug immediately above the storage horizon followed by a 500 foot cement plug, or use another method approved by the Department.

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