New Operator Information
Drilling and operating oil and gas wells in California
All California oil and gas wells, onshore and offshore (within three nautical miles of the coastline), located on state and private lands are permitted, drilled, operated, and plugged and abandoned under requirements and procedures administered by the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources.
Before the Division can approve a Notice of Intention to Drill a New Well (PDF), every operator must designate an agent who resides in California and serves as the company contact for all correspondence, including well permits. An individual operator may appoint himself or herself as agent. If an operator desires, more than one agent may be appointed, each for a designated area of the state.
The Notice of Intention to Drill form must be filed, in duplicate, with the appropriate district office. Division approval must be received before drilling can begin. An individual indemnity or cash bond must accompany every Notice of Intention to Drill, unless a blanket bond has been filed previously. Individual bond amounts are based on well depth.
An operator may request confidential status for exploratory wells and certain other wells where there may be extenuating circumstances. The request must be in writing and provide sufficient justification. A sample letter is provided.
If you have any questions, please contact the appropriate district office.
The following references and links are provided to assist new operators when drilling and operating oil and gas wells in California.
These files are in Adobe Acrobat format. Acrobat Reader software is needed to read and print documents downloaded from this site. Free software may be downloaded from Adobe.