3930.11 Performance standards for exploration and in situ operations.§ 3930.11 Performance standards for exploration and in situ operations.
The operator/lessee must adhere to the following standards for all exploration and in situ drilling operations:
(a) At the end of exploration operations, all drill holes must be capped with at least 5 feet of cement and plugged with a permanent plugging material that is unaffected by water and hydrocarbon gases and will prevent the migration of gases and water in the drill hole under normal hole pressures. For holes drilled deeper than stripping limits, the operator/lessee, using cement or other suitable plugging material the BLM approves in advance, must plug the hole through the thickness of the oil shale bed(s) or mineral deposit(s) and through aquifers for a distance of at least 50 feet above and below the oil shale bed(s) or mineral deposit(s) and aquifers, or to the bottom of the drill hole. The BLM may approve a lesser cap or plug. Capping and plugging must be managed to prevent water pollution and the mixing of ground and surface waters and to ensure the safety of people, livestock, and wildlife;
(b) The operator/lessee must retain for 1 year all drill and geophysical logs. The operator must also make such logs available for inspection or analysis by the BLM. The BLM may require the operator/lessee to retain representative samples of drill cores for 1 year;
(c) The operator/lessee may, after the BLM's written approval, use drill holes as surveillance wells for the purpose of monitoring the effects of subsequent operations on the quantity, quality, or pressure of ground water or mine gases; and
(d) The operator/lessee may, after written approval from the BLM and the surface owner, convert drill holes to water wells. When granting such approvals, the BLM will include a transfer to the surface owner of responsibility for any liability, including eventual plugging, reclamation, and abandonment.