The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife has increased the reclamation bond amounts required for oil, gas and other mineral exploration drilling operators conducting exploration on Department-owned land. The new rules were effective on August 25, 2016, ten days after their publication in the Oklahoma Register, Volume 33, Issue 23.
Oil, gas and mineral exploration drilling operators were previously required to post a $10,000 surety bond if they operated fewer than ten wells on Department-owned property. Additional wells required a surety bond of $1,000 per well. Per the new regulations, operators will now need to post a $50,000 surety bond covering the first ten wells, and $5,000 for each additional well. Operators must provide the Department with the surety bond at least 45 days before beginning any drilling or moving equipment onto Department land. The surety bonds are intended to cover reclamation costs, which means restoring the land to its original state after drilling is complete.
Operators must also provide the Department with an approved notice of intent to drill, an estimate of drilling time and a plat map 45 days before drilling begins. The plat map must show proposed locations and dimensions of the following:
- Drilling pad
- Service area
- Estimate of damage area, including cut and fill around the location
Other information that must be submitted before any work begins includes the following:
- Written approval from the Oklahoma Archeological Survey Office (OASO) and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)
- Written surface contract agreement with the Department (sample agreement here)
- List of names and contact information of all personnel involved with drilling, operation and restoration
Complete information for operators can be found in the Oklahoma Register. The Oil and Gas Division of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission provides many of the necessary forms for oil, gas and mineral exploration on their website.
The new regulations also adjusted minimum damage and use charges, which are paid before drilling begins as determined by the surface damage agreement. Further damages may be assessed after drilling. Notably, a new monitoring fee of $1,000 per project (surface location, pipeline, road and electric) will be assessed and the area biologist will work with the operator from project start (finding a location) to finish (removal of equipment and compliance).
Contact the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for more information about the new regulations. Contact the experts at SuretyBonds.com to get a surety bond in Oklahoma.