New Operator Information

​​​​​​​​​​​Drilling and Operating Oil and Gas Wells in California

All California oil and gas wells, onshore and offshore (within three nautical miles of the coastline), located on state and private lands are permitted, drilled, operated, and plugged and abandoned under requirements and procedures administered by the Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM).

Before CalGEM can approve a Notice of Intention to Drill a New Well​, every operator must designate an agent who resides in California and serves as the company contact for all correspondence, including well permits. An individual operator may appoint himself or herself as agent.

The Notice of Intention to Drill form must be filed, in duplicate, with the appropriate CalGEM district office. CalGEM approval must be received before drilling can begin. An individual indemnity or cash bond must accompany every Notice of Intention to Drill, unless a blanket bond has been filed previously. Individual bond amounts are based on well depth.

An operator may request confidential status for exploratory wells and certain other wells where there may be extenuating circumstances. The request must be in writing and provide sufficient justification.

If you have any questions, please contact the appropriate CalGEM ​district office.

The following references and links are provided to assist new operators when drilling and operating oil and gas wells in California.​​

  1. GIS Mapping
  2. Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR, now CalGEM) Publications
  3. Access to CalGEM Oil and Gas Production/Injection Data​
  4. Online Data Resources​
  5. California Statutes and Regulations for CalGEM
  6. Oil and Gas Well Blowout Prevention in California I
    Oil and Gas Well Blowout Prevention in California II
    ​​Oil and Gas Well Blowout Prevention in California III
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