The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) has adopted new regulations regarding the permit bond required for coalbed methane gas wells. The regulations also establish a surety bond requirement for seismic exploration operations on a surface owner’s property.
Previously, wells that were less than 2,000 feet deep required a $10,000 permit bond, and those deeper than 2,000 feet required a $20,000 bond. Well owners had the option of posting a $75,000 blanket bond if they owned multiple wells. If owners were drilling wells on private land, they were required to post a minimum $2,000 bond per well site.
Current rules modify those surety bond amounts. Under new regulations, the WOGCC requires $10 of surety bond coverage per foot of depth for all wells. For example, if a well was drilled to 3,000 feet, the owner would need to purchase a $30,000 permit bond. Owners with multiple wells can still post a blanket bond in the new amount of $100,000. The new minimum bond required for wells drilled on private land is $10,000.
The WOGCC’s new regulations establish a bond requirement for seismic exploration operations on a surface owner’s property. After obtaining proper permissions from landowners, companies conducting seismic exploration will post a $5,000 surety bond for the first 1,000 acres or less. An additional $1,000 of bond coverage is required for each additional 1,000 acres or portion of 1,000 acres. Also included in the new regulations is a well ownership transfer stipulation. Upon transfer, the WOGCC can choose to hold the prior owner’s bond for up to six months as the new owner’s performance is evaluated.
These surety bond requirements ensure that there are funds available for proper plugging of wells and land reclamation after mining efforts have ceased. The new regulations can be found in Section 4 of Chapter 3 of the Wyoming Rules and Regulations.