The Division oversees the drilling, operation, maintenance, and plugging and abandonment of oil, natural gas, and geothermal wells. The regulatory program emphasizes the wise development of oil, natural gas, and geothermal resources in the state through sound engineering practices that protect the environment, prevent pollution, and ensure public safety.
All California oil and gas wells (development and prospect wells), enhanced-recovery wells, water-disposal wells, service wells (i.e. structure, observation, temperature observation wells), core-holes, and gas-storage wells, onshore and offshore (within three nautical miles of the coastline), located on state and private lands, are permitted, drilled, operated, maintained, plugged and abandoned under requirements and procedures administered by the Department of Conservation's Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR).
DOC Issues Notice to Adopt Emergency Regulations For Natural Gas Storage Facilities
On January 15, 2016, the Department of Conservation issued notice of its intent to propose the adoption of emergency regulations necessary to protect public health, safety, and the environment by ensuring the immediate implementation of protective standards for all underground gas storage projects in the state. The emergency regulations will be established under the emergency rulemaking process to ensure that regulations are in place while the permanent regulations are being finalized.
Consistent with the mandate of the Governor's emergency proclamation related to the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility in Los Angeles County, the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources finds that there is an immediate need to require implementation of performance standards specifically designed to ensure that operators of underground gas storage facilities are properly mitigating risks and taking all appropriate steps to prevent uncontrolled releases, blowouts, and other infrastructure-related accidents.
The Governor's emergency proclamation includes a mandate the emergency regulations accomplish all of the following:
- Require at least a daily inspection of gas storage wellheads, using gas leak detection technology such as infrared imaging.
- Require ongoing verification of the mechanical integrity of all gas storage wells.
- Require ongoing measurement of annular gas pressure or annular gas flow within wells.
- Require regular testing of all safety valves used in wells.
- Establish minimum and maximum pressure limits for each gas storage facility in the state.
- Require each storage facility to establish a comprehensive risk management plan that evaluates and prepares for risk at each facility, including corrosion potential of pipes and equipment.
To view the public notice,
To view the text of the proposed emergency regulations,
Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Leak
A well in a natural gas storage facility in the City of Los Angeles (the Porter Ranch neighborhood) began leaking on October 23. Many state agencies – including the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources – are overseeing efforts by the Southern California Gas Company (SCG) and its contractors to halt the leak. Here are some important links:
First Annual Report on Well Stimulation Available
The Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources has submitted to the state legislature an
annual report on its well stimulation treatment (WST) regulatory program, required under Senate Bill 4. Signed into law by Governor Brown in September 2013, SB 4 established the most comprehensive regulatory program for the use of hydraulic fracturing and other stimulation techniques in the United States. The report includes context and background about the development of the regulations and a significant amount of data about the use of WST in California.
DOC Issues Oil & Gas Renewal Plan, Report to Legislature
Building on the ongoing effort to strengthen and improve the state’s oversight of oil and gas production, the California Department of Conservation on October 8 released a Renewal Plan to overhaul its regulatory program and continue refocusing on the guiding principles of environmental protection and public health. The Renewal Plan, along with the ongoing reform efforts, also will help fix various regulatory problems identified in a report submitted to the Legislature today under Senate Bill 855 (2010) that directed the Department to report on the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources’ (DOGGR) enforcement and permitting of underground injection control.
The Renewal Plan for DOGGR includes the following elements and actions:
- Completing a review of aquifer exemptions under the Safe Drinking Water Act and performing a project-by-project review while ensuring that any approval letters clearly outline conditions of the permit.
- Developing and updating regulations for hydraulic fracturing and underground injection control that are more heavily science-based and reflect ongoing technological developments.
- Establishing a standard practice for record-keeping and workforce training to boost transparency and ensure consistent practices locally and statewide.
- Building a publicly accessible online database of decades of paper records and a system for modern data collection and retrieval going forward.
- Meeting aggressive deadlines for new regulations, public input and well evaluations.
The report to the Legislature focuses on DOGGR’s enforcement and permitting of underground injection control (UIC), a process used to increase oil production and to safely dispose of the salt and fresh water brought to the surface with oil and natural gas. The law directed DOC to report on permitting and enforcement statistics and to provide a program assessment and an action plan to address that assessment.
State Regulators Send Aquifer Exemption Proposal to U.S. EPA
The California Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“Division”) and State Water Resources Control Board on February 8, 2016 submitted a proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requesting to expand an aquifer exemption designation for the Dollie sands of the Pismo formation in the Arroyo Grande oil field. The field is in unincorporated San Luis Obispo County near the intersection of Ormonde Road and Price Canyon Road. The proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.
Documents related to the aquifer exemption proposal can be
Interested Parties List
To receive emailed notices about future aquifer exemption activities, please send an email to
email@example.com. Please specific whether you are interested in these activties in a specific oil field, in a county or community, or on a statewide basis.
SB 1281 Data and Report Available
The Department of Conservation (DOC) is making available comprehensive data on water use related to oil and gas production This is the first report to be posted as a result of recent legislation (Senate Bill 1281; Pavley, 2014), which requires self-reported data from industry. The report includes data from about 60 percent of California oil and gas operators, and accounts for approximately half of the overall expected reported water volumes for the first quarter of 2015. The report distinguishes between water brought to the surface during oil or gas exploration and production that might be used for agriculture or other beneficial uses and that which has no potential beneficial use because of its naturally-occurring salt or mineral content.
Click here to read the report.
Volumes II and III of Independent Science Study on Well Stimulation Released
Pursuant to 2013 legislation by Senator Fran Pavley (Senate Bill 4), the California Natural Resources Agency commissioned the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to conduct an independent scientific assessment of well stimulation, including hydraulic fracturing, in California. On July 9, 2015, CCST publicly released Volumes II and III of the assessment.
Volume II assesses the potential impacts of well-stimulation technology with respect to water, air quality, and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as induced seismicity, ecology, traffic and noise. Volume III presents case studies to assess environmental issues and qualitative hazards for specific geographic regions, based on findings in Volume I and Volume II.
To view or download the report, please visit the CCST website at:
SB 4 Environmental Impact Report Certified
On July 1st, State Oil & Gas Supervisor Steven Bohlen, head of the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (Division), certified the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) titled “Analysis of Oil and Gas Well Stimulation Treatments in California.”
This Final EIR analyzes the impacts of well stimulation treatments, including hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as “fracking”), performed in a manner consistent with the Division’s proposed permanent regulations that would amend California Code of Regulations Title 14, Division 2, Chapter 4, Subchapter 2. This EIR’s analysis assumes that well stimulation treatments could occur either within or outside of existing oil and gas field boundaries. For the purposes of this EIR the “Project” is defined as all activities associated with a stimulation treatment that could occur either at an existing oil and gas well, or an oil and gas well that is drilled in the future with the intent to stimulate the well, or a well drilled with a reasonable possibility of becoming subject to a stimulation treatment.
Click here to view the SB4 Final EIR.
Underground Injection Control (UIC)
New Information Regarding:
- Emergency Rulemaking: Aquifer Exemption Compliance Schedule Regulations
- EPA Correspondence and Guidance Documents
- Division, State Water Board, and US EPA Aquifer Exemption Workshops
- List of potential wells under review regarding Aquifer Exemptions
- Update on the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the United States Environmental Protection Agreement (EPA)
Updates on these hot topics and more Information on the UIC program can be
Well Stimulation/SB 4 News and Information
New Information Regarding:
- Environmental Impact Report for Well Stimulation in California Released
- Independent Science Study on Well Stimulation Released
- Permanent Regulations for Well Stimulation Finalized
- Readopted SB 4 Interim Well Stimulation Regulations Now in Effect
- New Well Search Tools Available
Updates on these hot topics and more Information on Well Stimulations can be