Drilling and Operating Geothermal Wells in California

​​​​​​​​Geothermal wells in California (except for wells on federal leases which are administered by the Bureau of Land Management) are permitted, drilled, operated, and permanently sealed and closed (plugged and abandoned) under requirements and procedures administered by the Geothermal Section of the Department of Conservation's Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM, formerly DOGGR).

Before CalGEM can approve a Notice of Intention to Drill a Geothermal Resources Well (PDF), 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. If an operator desires, more than one agent may be appointed, each for a designated area of the state. In addition, any proposed well must demonstrate compliance with of the California Environmental Quality Act, known as CEQA (see below).

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


Low-temperature, Temperature Gradient and Observation Wells
 1.Well depth 25 - 1,999 ft. $2,000
 2.Well depth 2,000 - 4,999 ft. $10,000
 3.Well depth 5,000 - 9,999 ft. $15,000
 4.Well depth 10,000 ft. or deeper$25,000
 5.Blanket Bond$100,000
High-temperature Wells
 1.A well to any depth $25,000
 2.Blanket bond$100,000


Low-temperature Wells
 1.Shallow (25-250 ft.) $25
 2.Intermediate (251-1,000 ft.)$200
 3.Deep (1,001 ft. or more) $500
 4.Injection well to any depth$500
Temperature-gradient (TG) Wells*
 1.Shallow (25-250 ft.) $25
 2.Shallow TG program up to 25 wells$200
 3.Intermediate (251-1,000 ft.)$200
 4.Intermediate TG program up to 5 wells$500
 5.Deep (1,001 ft. or more)$500

* Temperature-gradient wells must be abandoned within one year after completion

Observation Wells
 1.Shallow (25-250 ft.)$25
 2.Intermediate (251-1,000 ft.)$200
3.Deep (1,001 ft. or more)$500

High-temperature Wells
 1.Development well to any depth$500
 2.Injection well to any depth$500
3.Exploratory well to any depth$1,000


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

References and Links 

**To read and print documents, Adobe Acrobat Reader may be needed. Installation is free.   

7. Required Data for Geothermal Injection Projects





Compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) must be documented if your proposed project requires a discretionary permit or approval from CalGEM. Additional information on CEQA can be found on CalGEM's CEQA webpage.

Additional Information​