From the Ohio Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management:

On July 16, 2015, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management (ODNR, DOGRM) will implement new rules regulating the construction of horizontal well pad sites. Ohio Administrative Code 1501:9-2-01 and 1501:9-2-02 require operators to design and construct horizontal well pads in a manner that protects public health and safety, promotes safe drilling operations and minimizes damages to natural resources by managing storm water, ensuring clean surface water and reducing soil erosion. Ohio Administrative Code 1501:9-12 lists referenced industry standards.

Under the new rule, operators will submit detailed horizontal well pad site plans certified by a professional engineer to then be reviewed by DOGRM prior to the construction of the well pad. The plans will include, but are not limited to, detailed drawings of well pad features, an emergency release conveyance map, a geotechnical report and a sediment and erosion control plan. Engineering staff from the division will inspect sites during each stage of construction to ensure compliance with the new standards.

Horizontal well pads are larger in size than traditional vertical well pads and often house multiple wells, allowing operators to access greater acreages of shale reserves with a smaller environmental footprint. Likewise, abundant production quantities from horizontal wells create a need for large scale operations to occur on or near the well pad. Stringent construction standards will ensure that well pads provide a safe foundation for the drilling rig and production facilities throughout the operational life of the well. Stable access roads, also addressed in the new rule, are crucial for transporting drilling materials and in the event of an emergency, provide safe access for response vehicles, personnel and equipment. As exploration and production in the Utica Shale play continues, Ohio’s horizontal well pad construction standards will lay a strong foundation for greater protection of natural resources, human safety, and the environment.

The Horizontal Well Site Construction Application and other forms referenced in the rule are available at the division website.

A PDF of the final Horizontal Well Site Construction rule package (OAC 1501:9-2-01, 1501:9-2-01 and 1501:9-12) is available here.