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West Virginia’s New Horizontal Drilling Regulations Now In Effect

West Virginia natural gas operators saw a shift in the permitting and regulation process as new rules governing horizontal drilling went into effect on July 1, 2013.  Authorized by the West Virginia Legislature with its passage of the Horizontal Well Act in 2011, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection submitted the new regulations to the Legislature for approval after a year of work.  The result is a comprehensive and somewhat technical set of regulations that will govern horizontal drilling in West Virginia.  While some of the regulations merely recite requirements that are in the Horizontal Well Act, below are some of the new and noteworthy regulations in the newly-effective set:

  • Provides for an expedited review process for regulatory approval of replacement bore holes (35-8-5.l.1)
  • Supplemental requirements for well site safety plans (35-8-15)
  • Increased recordkeeping requirements for water used in the hydraulic fracking process (35-8-9.1.b.3) and
  • Additional certifications may be required on plats and plans submitted for permitting review.

A copy of the new horizontal drilling regulations can be found here.