RAPID/Geothermal/Oregon/Exploration

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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Oregon Geothermal Exploration Permitting(4-OR)

Developers may require a Geothermal Exploration Permit, Geothermal Prospect Well Permit, or Exploration Injection Permit depending on the specific activity.

Developers seeking to conduct geothermal exploration activities in Oregon might be required to obtain a Geothermal Exploration Permit from the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL). The permitting process is regulated under O.R.S. 517 and O.A.R. 141-075. Developers must obtain an exploration permit if the proposed exploration activities will be on state land and disturb more than one surface acre or involve drilling to a depth greater than 50 feet. The permit application must include, among other required information, evidence of insurance, bond, and an exploration plan.

Developers seeking to drill a prospect well must obtain a Geothermal Prospect Well Permit from the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (GMI). The permitting process is regulated under O.R.S. 516 and O.R.S. 522. Developers must pay fees and have secured a bond. GMI may consider and impose conditions on the permit.

Developers seeking to commence new injection activities must obtain an Exploration Injection Permit from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The permitting process is regulated under O.A.R. 340-044-0012. The application requires an injection plan and payment of fees, and a Mechanical Integrity Test for wells over five-years old. During the application review process, DEQ will provide for a notice and comment period.

More Information

Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply

Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.

Permitting at a Glance

Oregon Federal

Pre-Drilling Exploration Permit Agency: Oregon State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Oregon Division of State Lands Bureau of Land Management, United States Forest Service
Pre-Drilling Exploration Permit: No person shall explore by any means whatever on, in, or under land owned by the State of Oregon and under the jurisdiction of the Division of State Lands to detect or assess geothermal resources without a permit or lease issued pursuant to these regulations and under authority of ORS 273.551. Any person engaging in onshore exploration that disturbs more than one surface acre or involves drilling to greater than 50 feet shall obtain an exploration permit. [1] Notice of Intent to Conduct Geothermal Resource Exploration Operations (Form 3200-009)
Drilling Exploration Permit Agency: Oregon State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Oregon Division of State Lands Bureau of Land Management
Drilling Exploration Permit: No person shall engage in drilling a prospect well without first obtaining a permit issued under the authority of the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries and without complying with the conditions of such permit. [2] Notice of Intent to Conduct Geothermal Resource Exploration Operations (Form 3200-009) (Temperature Gradient Well); Geothermal Drilling Permit (Form 3260-002) (All other drilling activities)

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List of Reference Sources

  1. ORS 517.705 Exploration Permit Regulations for Mining and Mining Claims (2013).
  2. ORS 522.055 Permit Requirements for Geothermal Resources (2013).
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