Subcommittees succeeded in addressing specific issues: A standing subcommittee of the work group plans annual conferences to share information and promote networking. The ninth such conference was held in October 2002.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by BLM and CDOGGR in 1996. A result of two years of hard work, the MOU clearly states the roles and responsibilities of each agency on the federal leases, thus streamlining permitting and eliminating duplication. It has increased efficiency in both agencies and continues to be improved through regular review.
Other accomplishments include:
Requirements for venting and flaring gas
Guidelines for alternate plugging techniques
Major cleanup on federal leases
Cooperation on Fish and Wildlife Service oil field overflights
Support for BLM’s leasing program
Information seminars for operators conducted by BLM
In its ten-year evolution, the work group has discovered how members can help each other develop a stronger oil economy in California and a more efficient and effective government.
The challenges facing the industry are becoming increasingly complicated. Members of the work group believe the group should continue to serve as a resource and forum to address these concerns. Commitment to the process, consistent dialog, and fresh perspectives from new participants will be needed to ensure the continuing efficacy of the group.
Through both its process and its accomplishments, the California Oil and Gas Work Group provides a model of how government and industry should work together.
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The Drilling, Production, and Abandonment Subcommittee dealt with differing requirements between BLM and CDOGGR. Through meetings over two years, the subcommittee developed a consensus on the safest and most economic way to drill and abandon wells.
Another subcommittee dealt with requirements for abandoning sumps. With involvement from BLM, CDOGGR, CRWQCB, and industry, the subcommittee identified a step-by-step, reliable process for abandoning sumps. It has been used throughout the valley for over eight years on both private and federal oil and gas leases.
The Idle Wells Subcommittee, primarily composed of work group members, has provided substantial input into State regulations that provide options for operators on how to deal with their idle wells. As a result, both major and independent operators were able to live with the new regulations, and the number of idle wells in California is declining.