PLUGGING


§ 78.91. General provisions.

 (a)  Upon abandoning a well, the owner or operator shall plug the well under § §  78.92—78.98 or an approved alternate method under section 211 of the act (58 P. S. §  601.211) to stop the vertical flow of fluids or gas within the well bore unless one of the following applies:

   (1)  The Department has granted inactive status under § §  78.101—78.105 (relating to inactive status).

   (2)  The well is part of a plugging schedule that has been approved by the Department and the operator is complying with that schedule, and the schedule takes into account potential harm that the well poses to the environment or public health and safety.

   (3)  The Department has approved the identification of the well as an orphan well under section 203 of the act (58 P. S. §  601.203), and the Department has not determined a prior owner or operator received economic benefit after April 18, 1979, from this well other than economic benefit derived only as a landowner or from a royalty interest.

 (b)  The operator shall plug a well where a radioactive logging source has been lost under § §  78.92—78.98 and 78.111.

 (c)  When a well is being plugged from the attainable bottom, the operator shall install a 50-foot plug of cement at the attainable bottom and plug the remainder of the well under § §  78.92—78.98.

 (d)  If the production casing cannot be retrieved, the operator shall plug strata bearing or having borne oil, gas or water by perforating the casing and squeezing cement into the annulus or other method approved by the Department. The maximum distance the stub of the uncemented production casing may extend is 100 feet below the surface casing seat or coal protective casing seat, whichever is deeper. The uncemented portion of the casing left in the well above the total depth or attainable bottom may not extend through a formation bearing or having borne oil, gas or water or extend to a point where it interferes with subsequent plugging requirements of § §  78.92(a)(2) and 78.93(a)(2) and (b)(4) (relating to wells in coal areas—surface or coal protective casing is cemented; and wells in coal areas—surface or coal protective casing anchored with a packer or cement). The remainder of the well shall be plugged under § §  78.92—78.98.

 (e)  When plugging a well, an operator shall insure that no gases are present in the well in an amount that could interfere with cementing the well.

 (f)  When plugging a well with a casing string cemented through a gas storage reservoir or reservoir protective area, an operator shall use bridge plugs immediately above and below the gas storage reservoir unless an alternate plugging plan has been approved by the Department.

 (g)  When a well located in a coal area is plugged to allow mining through it, the person authorized by the Department to plug the well under the act or section 13 of the Coal and Gas Resource Coordination Act (58 P. S. §  513) shall clean out the gas well to a depth of at least 200 feet below the coal seam which will be mined and, unless impracticable, to a point 200 feet below the deepest minable coal seam the well penetrates.

 (h)  In lieu of the plugging requirements of § §  78.92—78.95 and 78.97, an operator may cement a well from the total depth or attainable bottom to the surface. Wells in coal areas still shall meet the venting requirements of §  78.92 or §  78.93 (relating to wells in coal areas—surface or coal protective casing is cemented; and wells in coal areas—surface or coal protective casing anchored with a packer or cement).

Source

   The provisions of this §  78.91 adopted July 28, 1989, effective July 29, 1989, 19 Pa.B. 3229; amended December 16, 1994, effective December 17, 1994, 24 Pa.B. 6284; amended March 6, 1998, effective March 7, 1998, 28 Pa.B. 1234; amended March 30, 2001, effective March 31, 2001, 31 Pa.B. 1736. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (241923) to (241924).

Cross References

   This section cited in 25 Pa. Code §  78.86 (relating to defective casing or cementing); 25 Pa. Code §  78.92 (relating to wells in coal areas—surface or coal protective casing is cemented); 25 Pa. Code §  78.93 (relating to wells in coal areas—surface or coal protective casing anchored with a packer or cement); 25 Pa. Code §  78.94 (relating to wells in noncoal areas—surface casing is not cemented or not present); 25 Pa. Code §  78.95 (relating to wells in noncoal areas—surface casing is cemented); and 25 Pa. Code §  78.407 (relating to plugging gas storage wells).



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