When an operator wants to drill a well in Utah, they need to submit an application to drill a permit (APD). A complete review process ensures the environment and residents are protected while allowing responsible development of oil and gas resources. For additional information concerning the submittal of APDs, please read this guidance document.
The technical review evaluates a proposed drilling project's relevant local and regional information and identifies potential impacts. The review includes geologic assessment, water protection, cultural resources, soil assessment, regional precipitation, existing infrastructure, potential impacts to wildlife and habitat, previous area development, local/county ordinances, and spacing requirements. The division’s petroleum engineer reviews the APD for well construction and safety standards consistent with industry and division rules.
Staff calculates and verify adequate bonding to ensure the state is protected by providing sufficient monies for reclamation if wells are abandoned.
The pre-site evaluation allows division staff and interested parties to visit proposed sites to discuss issues requiring coordination, including risks to domestic or municipal water wells, surface waters, soil permeability, and natural drainages that could transport spilled fluids. Mitigation techniques such as rerouting drainages, constructing containment berms, or requiring specific drilling methods may be stipulated. In addition, the pre-drilling land characteristics of the site are noted, which helps in site reclamation.
After all of the steps are completed, the permit manager completes a final review, and if requirements are in order, the permit is approved.