The Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) 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 DOGGR.
State Oil and Gas Regulators Form Office of Enforcement
The Department of Conservation (DOC) has launched an Office of Enforcement within its Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to enhance compliance with public safety and environmental regulations and the administration of enforcement actions. The office, composed of engineering geologists and legal staff, will work with staff throughout DOGGR to identify and investigate violations and track compliance.
State Finalizes Underground Gas Storage Regulations
On October 1, rigorous new regulations aimed at protecting health and safety go into effect, concluding an effort that began during the Aliso Canyon leak of 2015-16. The regulations will become effective October 1, 2018.
“Our new regulations put the emphasis on proactively preventing leaks, and we believe they are the strongest protocols for natural gas storage in the U.S.,” State Oil and Gas Supervisor Ken Harris said. Harris leads the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), part of the California Department of Conservation.
“The best science and engineering, as well as significant input from a broad spectrum of the public, went into developing these regulations,” he continued. “Our overriding goal is to ensure we keep the public and the environment safe, and prevent any future Aliso Canyon-like incidents.”
New Rules Strengthen DOGGR Oversight of Gas Pipelines
New regulations for certain pipelines associated with California oil and gas production have been approved, giving Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) regulators additional tools to protect public health, safety, and the environment.
The rules, which go into effect October 1, 2018 were developed to fulfill requirements mandated in Assembly Bill 1420 (Salas, 2015). The legislation was drafted in response to a 2014 natural gas leak in a small pipeline in Arvin in Kern County.
- Address mechanical integrity testing (MIT) requirements for all in-service gas pipelines, regardless of diameter, that lie within a sensitive area. The Public Resources Code defines a sensitive area as that with pipelines near homes or other occupied structures.
- Require Pipeline Management Plans to be submitted to DOGGR to ensure that identified risks are adequately managed and that the pipeline characteristics and location information necessary to verify pipeline safety is readily available.
- Give local government or other state agencies the ability to petition the State Oil and Gas Supervisor to designate specified pipelines as being within a sensitive area.
For additional background, please see this
June 18, 2018 press release.
Proposed Regulations for Underground Injection Control
The review process for proposed regulations governing underground injection control is underway. An independent panel comprised of experts in geology, toxics, the oil and gas industry, public health, and the environment is evaluating the proposed rules.
Here is an
archived broadcast of the first meeting of the panel held May 29, 2018.
Additional information about underground injection control and the panel can be found on the
Natural Resources Agency website.
Public Input and Proposed Regulations
The Department of Conservation and Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) are creating regulations to ensure public health and safety, environmental protection, and the conservation of resources. Regulations regarding natural gas pipelines and underground natural gas storage have advanced to the formal rulemaking stage. Regulations regarding idle wells, underground injection control, and geothermal production are in the pre-rulemaking stage. Public comment details, drafts of the regulations, and other supportive documents can be found
here. For pre-2018 rulemaking documents, please see the
As part of its
Renewal Plan, the Division is creating a modern data management system to help strengthen its oversight of California oil and gas production and provide enhanced transparency to the public. DOGGR is in the midst of developing the Well Statewide Tracking and Reporting System, or
WellSTAR. The cloud-based application will improve data collection and analysis; streamline operations and processes; and comply with new reporting regulations from SB 1281 and SB 4, along with other state and federal statutes. In developing this new tool, DOGGR is leveraging the experience of the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC), which has helped implement similar data management systems in 23 states. The development and deployment of WellSTAR is taking place in four phases and will run through 2019. The public will be able to access data on WellSTAR by the end of October 2018. Information is concurrently available on
Well Finder while the new system is being built.
PowerPoint Presentations from Oct. 17, 2017 Gas Pipelines and Idle Wells Workshop
Draft Regulations for Gas Pipelines in Sensitive Areas - AB 1420
Gas Pipeline Mapping System
Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility
After putting numerous safeguards in place to protect public safety and the environment - such as ongoing on-site inspections - DOGGR and the California Public Utilities Commission
concurred that natural gas injection may resume at the Aliso Canyon storage facility, with significantly reduced storage capacity and maximum injection pressures.
Since the leak was plugged at the Los Angeles County facility, significant improvements and upgrades have been made to infrastructure, testing, operations, and monitoring to ensure safe operations. DOGGR completed a
comprehensive safety review at Aliso Canyon, consulting with the Lawrence Livermore, Lawrence Berkeley, and Sandia National Laboratories on extensive site inspections and review of Southern California Gas's testing.
Ongoing well testing results and additional information can be found on the
Aliso Canyon Updates page.
The term surface expression refers to the flow of water and/or oil to the surface during the oil extraction process. The condition typically is associated with extractions using high-energy steam injection in brittle geologic formations such as those found in northern Santa Barbara County near Santa Maria and on the southwest end of the San Joaquin Valley, west of Bakersfield.
While most surface expressions occur in oilfields that are far from communities and homes, DOGGR has safeguards to prevent them from occurring to ensure worker safety and to protect the environment.
Hydraulic Fracturing and Other Well Stimulation Treatments
Regulations now in effect in California established stringent environmental standards for all oil and gas well stimulation treatments (WST), such as hydraulic fracturing. Permits are contingent upon a comprehensive series of criteria, including an engineering review and well integrity evaluation to ensure operations are confined to their geologic zones. Operators must disclose chemicals used and comprehensive post-stimulation testing must be conducted and reported to ensure groundwater is protected. A full list of permits that have been granted, chemical disclosures, and extensive information about WST are available on the Division's
Seeking Engineers, Geologists, Analysts
The Department of Oil Gas and Geothermal Resources has ongoing job openings for technical and management positions in all of our offices: Orcutt, Ventura, Cypress, Bakersfield, and Sacramento. Information about the positions and how to apply is available from the following links:
Production Based Reports
Legislatively Mandated Reports
annual report satisfies the legislative report requirements of Senate Bill 4 (Pavley, Chapter 313, Statutes of 2013) regarding well stimulation treatment. Part 1 of the report summarizes the objective and scope of this report. Part 2 provides a response to each legislative reporting requirement. The appendices provide references and sources of the data, as well as a glossary of terms used. During the reporting period, 579 well stimulation treatments were performed, all but one in western Kern County in relatively mature oil fields.
- This report,
covering the period of April 1, 2017 to September 30, 2017, satisfies the legislative report requirements of Senate Bill 83 (Ch. 24, Statutes of 2015), providing permitting and program assessment information for the Underground Injection Control Program. Past reports for the UIC Program are available here.
Release 2: WellSTAR Computer Based Training (CBT) Materials for Operators are now available on our
WellSTAR Training for Operators page.
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