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PA Senate Bill Requires Environmental Quality Board To Differentiate Between Well Types

Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1378 was recently referred to the Senate’s Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.  If adopted, the bill would require the Environmental Quality Board to differentiate regulations between those relating to conventional oil and gas wells and those relating to unconventional gas wells under Title 58 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes and other related laws.  The Bill defines “conventional oil and gas well” as including any of the following:

(i)  a well drilled to produce oil;

(ii)  a well drilled to produce natural gas from formations other than shale formations;

(iii)  a well drilled to produce natural gas from shale formations located above the base of the Elk Group or its stratigraphic equivalent;

(iv)  a well drilled to produce natural gas from shale formations located below the Elk Group where natural gas can be produced at economic flow rates or in economic volumes without the use of vertical or non-vertical well bores stimulated by hydraulic fracture treatments or by using multilateral well  bores or other techniques to expose more of the formation to the well bores; and

(v)  irrespective of formation, a well drilled for collateral purposes, such as monitoring, geologic logging, secondary and tertiary recovery or disposal injection.

The Bill defines an “unconventional gas well” in the same manner as in the Oil and gas Act of 2012 (Act 13), which is a bore hole drilled for the purpose of producing gas from an unconventional formation (existing below the base of the Elk Sandstone or geologic stratigraphic equivalent where natural gas generally cannot be produced at economic flow rates or in economical volumes except by vertical or horizontal well bores stimulated by hydraulic fracture treatments or by using multilateral well bores or other techniques to expose more of the formation to the well bore).