§ 78.95. Wells in noncoal areas—surface casing is cemented.

 (a)  The owner or operator shall plug a well, where the surface casing is cemented and the production casing is not cemented or not present, as follows:

   (1)  The retrievable production casing shall be removed by applying a pulling force at least equal to the casing weight plus 5,000 pounds or 120% whichever is greater. If this fails, an attempt shall be made to separate the casing by cutting, ripping, shooting or other method approved by the Department, and making a second attempt to remove the casing by exerting a pulling force equal to the casing weight plus 5,000 pounds or 120% of the casing weight, whichever is greater. The well shall be filled with nonporous material from the total depth or attainable bottom of the well, to a point 50 feet below the lowest stratum bearing or having borne oil, gas or water. At this point there shall be placed a plug of cement, which extends for at least 50 feet above this stratum. Each overlying formation bearing or having borne oil, gas or water shall be plugged with cement a minimum of 50 feet below this formation to a point 50 feet above this formation. The zone between cement plugs shall be filled with nonporous material. The cement plugs shall be placed in a manner that will completely seal the hole. The operator may treat multiple strata as one stratum and plug as described in this subsection with a single column of cement or other materials as approved by the Department. When the production casing is not retrievable, the operator shall plug this portion of the well under §  78.91(d) (relating to general provisions).

   (2)  After plugging all strata bearing or having borne oil, gas or water, the well shall be filled with nonporous material to approximately 100 feet below the surface casing seat. Another plug of cement, or other equally nonporous material approved by the Department, shall be placed extending at least 50 feet above that point.

   (3)  After setting the 50-foot plug, the hole shall be filled from the top of the 50-foot plug to the surface with a noncementing material or the operator shall set a 100-foot cement plug which extends 50-feet into the surface casing and fill the hole to the surface with noncementing material.

 (b)  The owner or operator shall plug a noncoal well, where the surface casing and production casing are cemented, as follows:

   (1)  If the total depth or attainable bottom is deeper than the cemented production casing seat, the operator shall plug that portion of the well under subsection (a)(1).

   (2)  Cement plugs shall be set in the cemented portion of the production casing so that each plug extends from at least 50 feet below each stratum bearing or having borne oil, gas or water, to a point at least 100 feet above the stratum. A Department-approved mechanical plug may be used as a substitute for the plug of cement. The mechanical plug shall be set 20 feet above each stratum having borne oil, gas or water. The operator may treat multiple strata as one stratum and plug as described in this subsection with a single column of cement or other materials approved by the Department.

   (3)  Following the plugging of the cemented portion of the production casing, the uncemented portion of the production string shall be separated from the cemented portion and retrieved. The maximum distance the stub of the uncemented portion of the production casing may extend is 100 feet below the surface casing. In no case may the uncemented portion of the production casing left in the hole extend through stratum bearing or having borne oil, gas or water. Other stratum bearing or having borne oil, gas or water shall be plugged by filling the hole with nonporous material to 20 feet above the stratum and setting a 50-foot plug of cement. When the uncemented portion of the production casing is not retrievable, the operator shall plug that portion of the well under §  78.91(d).

   (4)  The remainder of the well shall be plugged under subsection (a)(2) and (3).

Source

   The provisions of this §  78.95 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 February 4, 2011, effective February 5, 2011, 41 Pa.B. 805. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (276340) and (241931).

Cross References

   This section cited in 25 Pa. Code §  78.86 (relating to defective casing or cementing); 25 Pa. Code §  78.91 (relating to general provisions); 25 Pa. Code §  78.97 (relating to plugging a well stimulated with explosives); and 25 Pa. Code §  78.407 (relating to plugging gas storage wells).



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