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New Mexico Drilling and Well Development (5-NM-a)

The Oil Conservation Division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (“Division”) oversees the permitting process for drilling geothermal wells. Before drilling operations, the developer of a proposed well for geothermal exploration, production, observation, or thermal gradient, or for injection or disposal purposes, must obtain approval from the Oil Conservation Division.

Drilling and Well Development Process

5-NM-a.1 to 5-NM-a.2 – Will the Drilling occur Within the Corporate Limits of any City, Town, or Village?

The developer is required to provide Notice of Intention to Drill the well to the duly constituted governing body of the city, town, or village or its duly authorized agent. Evidence of the notice must be included in the application for permit to drill. NMAC

5-NM-a.3 – Designation of Agent

The developer must file a Designation of Agent form with the Division before submitting an application. The designated agent must be a resident of the state of New Mexico and will act as the repository for all well records. NMAC

5-NM-a.4 – Application for Permit to Drill (G-101), Form G-102, and Plugging Bond

The developer must file four copies of the Division Form G-101 - Application for Permit to Drill, Deepen or Public Back-Geothermal Resources Well, and obtain approval. NMAC

The application must also include four copies of Form G-102 - Geothermal Resources Well Location and Acreage Dedication Plat. Form G-102 is used to show the exact location of the well and the acreage dedicated to the well. The form is also used to show the ownership and status of each lease contained within the dedicated acreage. NMAC

The application materials must also include a plugging bond. NMAC

NMOCD will work with the developer to determine the nature and extent of water quality issues associated with the project. The developer may be required to take action to protect water quality during the drilling and well development process if NMOCD determines it is necessary.

5-NM-a.5 Authorization to Produce and/or Inject Geothermal Fluids (G-104) and Associated Documents

The developer is required to file with the Division Form G-104 - Certificate of Compliance and Authorization to Produce Geothermal Resources, prior to placing any geothermal resource well into production, injection, or disposal. NMAC Form G-104 certifies that all Division rules and regulations pertaining to the well have been complied with. Form G-104 must be accompanied by three copies of Form G-105 - Geothermal Resources Well Log, three copies of Form G-106 - Geothermal Resources Well Summary Report, and three copies of Form G-107 - Geothermal Resources Well History. If the developer fails to include all the necessary completed forms, then the Division will withhold approval of the Certificate of Compliance and Authorization to Produce Geothermal Resources.

5-NM-a.6 – Sundry Notice and Reports on Geothermal Resources Wells (G-103)

The developer must submit to NMOCD a completed Form G-103 - Sundry Notices & Reports on Geothermal Resource Wells. The Sundry Notice will provide NMOCD with specific operations planned at the site, including proposed well testing and sampling.

5-NM-a.7 to 5-NM-a.8 – Review Application Materials for Completeness

The Division will review the application materials to ensure that all necessary components are present.

5-NM-a.9 – Technical Review of Application Materials

The Division will review the application materials to ensure that the proposed well will comply with all well requirements.

5-NM-a.10 to 5-NM-a.11 – Is the Application Approved?

If the proposed well complies with the spacing and well location requirements in NMAC, then the Division will approve the application. The Division may modify the permit if they deem such modifications advisable. If the Division refuses to approve the application, they will return the application materials to the developer with the reasons for the denial.

5-NM-a.12 – Permit to Drill

Following Division review of application materials, a copy of the Permit to Drill is sent to the developer. Generally, the permit will be issued for five years.

5-NM-a.13 – Commence Drilling Operations

After the developer obtains a Permit to Drill, they can commence drilling operations at the site.

5-NM-a.14 – Report of Commencement of Drilling Operations

The developer is required to file a Report of Commencement of Drilling Operations with the Division within 10 days following the commencement of drilling operations. The report must indicate the hour and the date the well was spudded. NMAC

5-NM-a.15 – Comply with Production Report Requirements

The developer is required to file monthly production reports with the Division. NMAC

Contact Information

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Edit New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department
State Exploration and Well Development Contact 505.476.3490 Visit Website