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Oregon Well Abandonment Process (20-OR-a)

According to ORS 522.045, any geothermal well that can no longer produce geothermal resources or information useful to the development of geothermal resources must be either plugged and decommissioned under ORS 522 or the developer may apply to Oregon DOGAMI to be transferred to the jurisdiction of the Oregon Water Resources Department.


Well Abandonment Process Process

20-OR-a.1 - Will the Developer Decommission a Prospect Well or Decommission/Suspend a Production Well?

The decommissioning requirements under ORS 522 differ depending on if the well in question is a prospect well or a production well.

20-OR-a.2 - Report Certifying Completion of Plugging and Decommissioning

According to ORS 522.085, upon completion of all drilling and testing undertaken pursuant to an application to drill prospect wells, the applicant must file with DOGAMI a report certifying the completion of the plugging and decommissioning plan required by the permit.

20-OR-a.3 - Does the Developer Intend to Decommission the Well or Merely Suspend Operations?

The requirements for production wells under ORS 522 differ depending on whether the operator intends to decommission the well or suspend operations.

20-OR-a.4 - Notice of Intent to Plug and Decommission Sent to DOGAMI

(1) Before commencing any operation to discontinue the use of a geothermal well, the operator shall give notice to the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries of the intention to plug and decommission the well and the date upon which the work will begin.

(2) Such notice shall be given at least 24 hours before the commencement of plugging and decommissioning operations and shall indicate:

  • (a) The condition of the well;
  • (b) The proposed method of the plugging and decommissioning operation; and
  • (c) Any additional information that may be required by the department.

(ORS 522.225)

20-OR-a.5 - Send Representative to Monitor Plugging and Decommissioning (Discretionary)

A representative of Oregon DOGAMI may be present during any operation to plug and decommission a geothermal well. If the representative determines that the plugging and decommissioning is satisfactory, the representative shall approve the plugging and decommissioning of the well.

(ORS 522.245(1))

20-OR-a.6 - Report of Plugging and Decommissioning Operations

Within 45 days after the completion of the plugging and decommissioning of any geothermal well, the operator of the well shall make a written report of all work done.

(ORS 522.245(2))

20-OR-a.7 - Final Approval or Disapproval with Conditions

Within 45 days after the receipt of the report, the department shall furnish the operator with a written final approval of the plugging and decommissioning or a written disapproval setting forth the conditions upon which the disapproval is based.

(ORS 522.245(2))

Failure to plug and decommission in accordance with the approved method, failure to submit to the department any notice or report required by this chapter or failure to furnish the department with any required information shall constitute sufficient grounds for disapproval of the plugging and decommissioning and shall constitute unlawful abandonment of the well.

(ORS 522.245(3))

Disapproval

When the department has issued a written disapproval of the plugging and decommissioning, the governing board of the department may proceed against the operator and the surety of the operator as provided for in ORS 522.145 and may bring suit pursuant to ORS 522.810 or take any other enforcement or recovery action authorized by law.

(ORS 522.245(4))

20-OR-a.8 - Application, Affidavit Showing Good Cause

(1) No operator shall suspend drilling or operation of a geothermal well without obtaining permission from the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.

(2) The department may authorize an operator to suspend for a specific period operations or remove equipment from an uncompleted geothermal well upon such terms as the department may specify, upon written application of the operator and an affidavit showing good cause.

(ORS 522.215)

If, after suspension, operations are not resumed by the operator within six months from the ending date specified for the suspension or extension thereof, an intention to abandon and unlawful abandonment shall be presumed.

(ORS 522.215(4))

Well Modification Form (including plugging and decommissioning)

A complete application consists of:

  1. This completed application form. Original signatures. Include an electronic copy of the application materials either via email or include a disk.
  2. The appropriate application fees (see fee schedule on application or contact the Department).
  3. Documentation as required to process the application. Contact the Department with questions for clarification. Applications to convert an existing Geothermal Well to use for injection require a significant amount of additional information, per OAR 632-020-0155 to -0159.


20-OR-a.9 - Does the Developer Wish to Extend the Suspension?

Within a period of six months from the ending date specified for such suspension, the operator may make written application for an extension of suspension and file it with an affidavit showing good cause for such an extension.

(ORS 522.215(3))

20-OR-a.10 - Application, Affidavit Showing Good Cause

Geothermal Modification Application Form

A complete application consists of:

  1. This completed application form. Original signatures. Include an electronic copy of the application materials either via email or include a disk.
  2. The appropriate application fees (see fee schedule on application or contact the Department).
  3. Documentation as required to process the application. Contact the Department with questions for clarification. Applications to convert an existing Geothermal Well to use for injection require a significant amount of additional information, per OAR 632-020-0155 to -0159.

20-OR-a.11 - Did DOGAMI Find the Extension Merited?

Upon a finding that the extension is merited, the governing board of the department may extend the suspension for an additional specific period.

20-OR-a.12 - Resume Operations

If DOGAMI does not find the extension merited, the operator must continue to operate the well or risk unlawful abandonment.

According to ORS 522.215:

(5) Whenever an operator whose operations have been suspended fails to comply with such terms as the department may specify in its authorization, the geothermal well shall be presumed unlawfully abandoned. A well shall also be deemed unlawfully abandoned, if, without notice to the department, any drilling or producing equipment is removed.

(6) An unlawful abandonment shall be declared by order of the board, and written notice thereof shall be mailed by registered mail or by certified mail with return receipt both to such operator at the last-known post-office address of the operator, to the registered agent of the operator, if any, and to the operator’s sureties.

(7) After declaration of unlawful abandonment, the board may proceed against the operator and the surety of the operator as provided for in ORS 522.145 and may bring suit pursuant to ORS 522.810 or take any other enforcement or recovery action authorized by law.

20-OR-a.13 - Grant Extension for Specified Period

The department may authorize an operator to suspend for a specific period operations or remove equipment from an uncompleted geothermal well upon such terms as the department may specify...

(ORS 522.215)




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Geothermal Prospect Well Process and Well-Development Contact
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