On September 20, 2013, Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill 4 (Pavley, Ch 313, Stats of 2013). On November 15, 2013, the California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (Division) began the formal rulemaking process for Well Stimulation Treatment Regulations, which will go into effect no later than January 1, 2015. Effective January 1, 2014, an interim set of regulations requires oil and gas well operators to submit notification of well stimulation treatments and various types of data associated with well stimulation operations, including chemical disclosure of well stimulation fluids, to the Division. In addition, the Division is required to compile submitted information regarding these activities and make it available to the public in a format that is easily searchable.
Interim Well Stimulation Notices
Effective January 1, 2014 and continuing until permanent regulations are adopted, Senate Bill 4 requires that oil and gas operators certify certain information and actions prior to any well stimulation activity. Information provided by operators can be found on the Division's New Interim Well Stimulation Treatment Index.
Well Stimulation Treatment Disclosure Reporting
Effective January 1, 2014, Senate Bill 4 requires an operator to post, within 60 days following the cessation of a well stimulation treatment, specified information regarding the composition and disposition of well stimulation fluids, including, but not limited to, hydraulic fracturing fluids, acid well stimulation fluids, and flowback fluids, to a Chemical Disclosure Registry that is accessible to the public.
Information provided by operators can be found here.
Interim Well Stimulation Regulations Effective January 1, 2014
Effective January 1, 2014, the California Department of Conservation (DOC) has established interim regulations to govern oil and gas well stimulation treatment until DOC's proposed permanent regulations are completed and become effective. The proposed permanent regulations were publicly noticed on November 15. DOC anticipates that the permanent regulations will be effective on January 1, 2015. The text of the interim regulations can be found here.
The interim regulations were established under an emergency rulemaking process to ensure they are in place when Senate Bill 4 becomes effective on January 1, 2014. The Department provided public notice of the emergency rulemaking on December 11, 2013, and the rulemaking package was submitted to the Office of Administrative Law on December 19, 2013. In response to public comment, the Department amended its finding of emergency for the rulemaking to include additional discussion of the basis of the determination. The notice of proposed emergency rulemaking that issued on December 11 can be found here. The Department’s revised notice with additional discussion of its finding of emergency can be found here.
In response to public comments, the Department made the following revisions to the interim regulations that were originally proposed:
- Clarification was added that an Interim Well Stimulation Treatment Notice is not complete unless all chemical constituent information is provided to the Division, regardless of any pending claim of trade secret protection. (Section 1783.1(c).)
- Clarification was added that if the operator determines that there is no protected water in the area, then an Interim Well Stimulation Treatment Notice is not complete unless it includes concurrence from the Water Boards with that determination.
- Clarification was added that an aquifer deemed exempt under the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act is not protected water.
- Various non-substantive corrections and revisions were made.
The text of the interim regulations with revisions highlighted can be found here. The text of the interim regulations as they were originally proposed on December 11, 2013 can be found here.
The interim regulations provide a fundamental baseline level of environmental protection while the more comprehensive regulations are being developed. Key components of SB 4 -- such as water quality monitoring and testing and public transparency -- are addressed in the interim regulations.
Additional information can be found here:
Permanent Well Stimulation Regulations
DOC Sends Out Public Notice of Proposed Regulations for Well Stimulation
The California Department of Conservation (DOC) has sent out public notice of proposed regulations for the use of well stimulation in oil and gas production. The public notice begins the formal rulemaking process and marks the beginning of a 60-day public comment period. The regulations, which are to go into effect on January 1, 2015, are designed to protect health, safety, and the environment, and supplement existing strong well construction standards. They address a comprehensive list of issues, including testing, monitoring, public notice, and permitting. The Department also will have emergency regulations in place by January 1, 2014 to ensure that the major requirements of SB 4 are addressed in the interim.
The text of the proposed regulations can be found here. This effort is the product of a dozen public meetings to both solicit ideas on what the regulations ought to include and to receive comments on an unofficial "discussion draft" of regulations; extensive research of other states' regulations and of scientific studies; and input from other regulatory agencies, the environmental community, and the oil and gas industry.
Comments regarding the proposed regulations can be submitted via email to DOGGRRegulations@conservation.ca.gov; via FAX to (916) 324-0948; or via regular mail to the Department of Conservation Office of Governmental and Environmental Relations, 801 K Street MS 24-02, 95814, Attention: Well Stimulation Regulations.
Comments will also be taken at five public hearings around the state:
Sacramento -- January 6, Sierra Room, California Environmental Protection Agency Building, 10th & I streets, 3-7 p.m.
Long Beach -- January 6, California State University-Long Beach auditorium, 1212 Bellflower Boulevard, 3-7 p.m.
Bakersfield -- January 8, Kern County Administrative Center, first floor board chambers, 1115 Truxtun Avenue, 3-7 p.m.
Salinas -- January 8, National Steinbeck Center, One Main Street, 3-7 p.m.
Santa Maria -- January 13, Santa Barbara County supervisors hearing room, 511 East Lakeside Parkway, 3-7 p.m.
The Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources must certify an environmental analysis of SB 4 by July 1, 2015. Also the Natural Resources Agency must commission an independent scientific study of well stimulation by January 1, 2015; a timeline for the study is being developed.
Frequently asked questions can be found here
A narrative about the development of the proposed regulations
A glossary of oil and gas terminology
The Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources hydraulic fracturing information page
The Senate Bill 4 Implementation Plan
Documents related to the Department of Conservation's rulemaking efforts can be found here
The California Water Code Section 13267 orders, seeking information from 78 oil and gas operators in the central valley region can be found here.
Environmental Impact Report
DOC Submits Notice of Preparation for SB 4 EIR
SB 4 also requires the Department/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources to prepare an EIR to analyze the impacts of well stimulation treatments. A Notice of Preparation for this EIR (required by CEQA) can be found here
Suggestions of the content and scope of the EIR will be taken at five public scoping meetings around the state:Oakland
-- December 10, Oakland Convention Center, 550 10th St., 4-8 p.m.Sacramento
-- December 11, Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St., 4-8 p.m.Bakersfield
-- December 12, Kern County Library, Beale Memorial Auditorium, 701Truxtun Avenue, 4-8 p.m.Ventura
-- January 8, Ventura College Performing Arts Center, 4700 Loma Vista Road, 4-8 p.m.Long Beach
-- January 9, Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Boulevard, 4-8 p.m.
If you wish to subscribe to a Listserv for information about the ongoing process of developing hydraulic fracturing regulations, click here
Notice to Operators
DOC Sends Out Notice to Operators to Address Mandates of Senate Bill 4
The California Department of Conservation sent out a Notice to Operators (NTO) regarding interim written notice and certification of compliance to address mandates of Senate Bill 4. The NTO can be found here.
Well Stimulation Treatment Disclosure Reporting Form
The following instructions are for using the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources’ (Division) Well Stimulation Treatment Disclosure Reporting Form and FracFocus for completing the required public disclosure and data submittal pursuant to Public Resources Code section 3160, subdivisions (b) and (g), and California Code of Regulations, title 14, (CCR) section 1788.
Within 60 days after the cessation of the well stimulation treatment, the required data shall be completed and submitted.
- Well Stimulation Treatment Disclosure Reporting Form Instructions
- Well Stimulation Treatment Disclosure Reporting Form