Sunday, March 22, 2015

Federal fracking rules: nothing to see in Arizona

The Bureau of Land Management issued rules last week for hydraulic fracturing on Federal and Indian lands.  This is mainly aimed at all the wells being drilled into shales for oil and gas.  There is no shale oil or shale gas development in Arizona, and the potential has been generally viewed as minor.  All of the oil and gas production in Arizona is from a small number of wells (~16) on the Navajo Reservation just south of the Utah border.   A few exploratory wells have been hydraulically fractured in the past 50 years in the state for testing but none were ever put into production.  No producing well in Arizona was fracked.    [Right, diagrammatic cross section showing the horizontally drilled and fractured producing section, below the aquifer. Credit, NaturalGasNow]

The Mining Law Blog summarized the final rules requiring the operator to: "submit additional information with its APD including wellbore geology, location of faults and fractures, and the depths of all usable water; implement and monitor a cementing program during well construction; perform a mechanical integrity test; store waste fluids in “rigid enclosed, covered or netted and screened above-ground storage tanks; and disclose chemicals used in the fracking activity."

The Arizona Oil & Gas Conservation Commission does not regulate wells on Tribal lands.    AZGS provides the administrative and technical support for the Commission.

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