3179.104 Downhole well maintenance and liquids unloading.§ 3179.104 Downhole well maintenance and liquids unloading.
(a) Gas vented or flared during downhole well maintenance and well purging is royalty free for a period not to exceed 24 hours per event, provided that the requirements of paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section are met. Gas vented or flared from a plunger lift system and/or an automated well control system is royalty free, provided the requirements of paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section are met.
(b) The operator must minimize the loss of gas associated with downhole well maintenance and liquids unloading, consistent with safe operations.
(c) For wells equipped with a plunger lift system and/or an automated well control system, minimizing gas loss under paragraph (b) of this section includes optimizing the operation of the system to minimize gas losses to the extent possible consistent with removing liquids that would inhibit proper function of the well.
(d) For any liquids unloading by manual well purging, the operator must ensure that the person conducting the well purging remains present on-site throughout the event to end the event as soon as practical, thereby minimizing to the maximum extent practicable any venting to the atmosphere.
(e) For purposes of this section, “well purging” means blowing accumulated liquids out of a wellbore by reservoir gas pressure, whether manually or by an automatic control system that relies on real-time pressure or flow, timers, or other well data, where the gas is vented to the atmosphere, and it does not apply to wells equipped with a plunger lift system.