Oil production began in earnest in California in the late 1800s. The Legislature created what is now the Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) in 1915 to ensure the safe development and recovery of energy resources.
Going forward, CalGEM is committed to protecting public health, safety, and the environment as we regulate the drilling, operation, and eventual permanent closure of oil, gas, and geothermal wells. While California is a top-10 oil-producing state, production has been declining since the mid-1980s. CalGEM is tasked with advancing California's goal to become carbon-neutral by 2045.
CalGEM has jurisdiction over more than 242,000 wells, including nearly 101,300 defined as active or idle oil producers. CalGEM's authority extends from onshore to three miles offshore.
- CalGEM retains well records dating back to the early 1900s.
- Regulations for well operations are developed with the best scientific data available.
- CalGEM has state and federal authority to oversee injection wells that push fluids into porous rock formations; to inject fluids into production wells to assist in oil recovery, and to send fluids recovered with oil and gas extraction back into the ground. Injection process regulations also address exemptions for aquifers determined to contain water unsuitable for drinking or other beneficial uses.
- With the authority of the nation’s most robust regulations, CalGEM oversees well stimulation techniques, such as hydraulic fracturing, to make sure public health and safety, and natural habitats are protected.
- CalGEM regulates standards for underground natural gas storage facilities.