Applications for Permit to Drill in the Rock Springs Field Office

Nine Point Technical Plan

Twelve Point Surface Use Plan

Items of Special Attention

The following information regarding Applications for Permit to Drill (APD) in the Rock Springs Field Office is provided in an effort to improve the quality of APD submissions and hopefully, streamline the permitting process.

Information required in the Rock Springs Resource Area Applications for Permit to Drill is the same as is required for applications on Public Land throughout the county. These requirements are explained in detail in Onshore Oil & Gas Order Number 1 and Onshore Oil & Gas Order Number 2.

While the requirements for a complete APD are the same as outlined in Onshore Oil and Gas Orders No. 1 and 2 , our experience in the Rock Springs Resource Area is that some applications are submitted with incomplete information or with proposals that do not reflect local conditions relative to well control and resource protection. Items in the drilling plan are discussed below with special attention to local needs and conditions. For more information on applications, we encourage you to call the Rock Springs Field Office at 307-352-0256. 


1. Geologic Tops - All geologic tops that will be encountered must be listed here.

2. Estimated depths of oil, gas, water, and other minerals - This information is important. Oil and gas operators must design the casing and cementing program to protect all mineral zones and design the cementing program to protect usable water from commingling with brackish water or hydrocarbons. This can be done by casing over the usable water entirely or by circulating cement above all oil and gas or brackish water zones. Usable water in the Rock Springs Resource Area is found primarily in the Wasatch formation throughout the Resource Area and the Paleozoic sections in the western portion of the Resource Area. 

3. Pressure control equipment - A diagram of the proposed BOP stack and choke manifold must be included. The working pressure of the stack will be calculated by assuming a partially evacuated hole with a fluid column in the hole equivalent to 4.23 ppg (.22 psi/ft). 


Total Depth = 12,000 ft
Bottom Hole Pressure = 6,720 psi
Minimum BOP Working Pressure = 6,720 psi - .22 psi/ft * 12,000 ft = 4,080 psi
BOPE of 5,000 psi working pressure is required.

Wells on the LaBarge platform are drilled with BOP equipment with a rated working pressure of 2,000 and 3,000 psi. Wells in the southeast portion of the Resource Area, on the Rock Springs Anticline, and Lance wells to the northwest are typically drilled with equipment rated to 5,000 psi.

4. More information on the drilling equipment and casing program

Casing Program - In addition to showing the wt., grade, and length of casing proposed, this part of the application should show the burst, collapse, and tensile strength of the proposed casing. It should also show the design factors used and any assumptions made with regard to formation and fracturing pressures.

Cementing Program - The application must include the type of cement to be used on all strings of casing. It must include additives, slurry weight, yield, and 24 hour compressive strength. The application should also indicate the desired top of cement proposed and how that will be achieved (through the use of caliper logs, % excess cement used, etc.).

Typical casing and cement designs in the Rock Springs Resource Area are shown below. Proposals may vary from these but must be functionally equivalent with regards to protection of usable water zones, mineral zones and well control.

Typical casing design for a Frontier well on the LaBarge Platform

8 5/8" or 9 5/8" surface Casing set to a depth of 700-800 feet
Burst pressure rating greater than 1600 cement to surface
4 1/2", 5 1/2", or 7" Production Casing set to TD
Top of cement brought to 200 feet over the top of the Almy or 200 feet above the base any usable water bearing zone that is not already cased and cemented.

Typical casing design for an Almy or Mesaverde well on the LaBarge Platform

8 5/8" Surface Casing set to a minimum depth of 250 - 300 feet Cement to surface
4 1/2" Production Casing set to TD
Top of cement brought to 200 feet over the top of the Almy or 200 feet above the base any usable water bearing zone that is not already cased and cemented.

Typical Casing design for the Jonah Field and Lower Ft./Union Lance wells

8 5/8" or 9 5/8" Surface Casing set to a depth of 2,500 feet
Burst pressure rating greater than 2,500 psi Cement to surface
4 1/2" or 5 1/2" Production Casing set to TD
Burst pressure rating greater than 7780
Top of cement 400 feet over the top of the Lance or the shallowest gas sand (whichever is higher)

5. Cementing – The estimated amount and type(s) of cement expected to be used in the setting of each casing string. If stage cementing will be used, provide the setting depth of the stage tool(s) and amount and type of cement, including additives, to be used for each stage. Provide the yield of each cement slurry and the expected top of cement, with excess, for each cemented string or stage.

6. Information on Mud System - In addition to information on the type and anticipated weight of the mud, information on the mud monitoring system (if applicable) should be included here. It is also be helpful if specific additives are listed here.

7. Testing, Logging, Coring - Information on the types of logs that will be run and the depths at which they will be run should be included here. If specific information is known about the anticipated completion procedure (including size and type of frac, how the well will be flowed back, how the fluids will be handled, etc..) it is useful for the BLM to have this information at the APD stage.

8. Expected BHP, abnormal temperatures and pressures, and hazards - Information that should be included in this section includes the depth of any overpressured zones, lost circulation zones, or H2S zones. The presence of any of these conditions should include a discussion as to how they will be handled. If H2S is anticipated to occur in concentrations greater than 100 ppm or more, an H2S Drilling Operations Plan in accordance with Onshore Order No. 6 will be required.

9. Other information - if there is other information that will help the BLM consider the drilling permit it should be included here. Examples include: for directional wells, propose directional design, plan view, and vertical section in true vertical and measured depths; horizontal drilling; and coil tubing operations. 


1. Existing roads - The existing roads that will be used to access the well must be shown. It is useful to show these roads and how they relate to the lease or unit boundaries and whether they exist on private. A right-of-way will be needed for any portion of the road that is not within the lease or unit boundaries. Whether the existing road is suitable for drilling equipment must also be addressed. If the road requires upgrading it should be addressed in the second point of the thirteen point plan.

2. Access roads to be constructed/reconstructed - The proposed road design must be included. A certified survey and design is often required. Details regarding the handling of topsoil, culvert placement, and road surfacing must also be included. All new road construction should be in compliance with the "Gold Book" Oil and Gas Surface Operating Standards for Oil and Gas Exploration and Development.

3. Location of existing wells - include a map showing all wells within a one mile radius.

4. Well facilities - Any existing well facilities or facilities that will be installed if the well is productive must be shown on a map or plat. Details on the produced water pit are important. We also like to see the production facilities arranged to minimize long term surface disturbance and painted Carlsbad Canyon Brown.

5. Location of water supply - If a water well is proposed to be drilled on location it must be stated here.

6. Construction materials to be used - The type of sand, gravel, or stone that will be used for road construction and the source of this material must be included in this section.

7. Methods for handling waste - The method for handling the drilling fluids, drill cutting, completion fluids, and test fluids must be addressed here.

8. Ancillary facilities - self explanatory

9. Wellsite layout - Submit a detailed cut and fill diagram on a scale of not less than 1" = 50 feet. Also show the location of topsoil and spoil storage areas, the road, rig layout, and pit location. Do not propose a pit on the fill side of the well pad.

10. Reclamation plans - Indicate plans for partial reclamation if the well is a producer and plans for final reclamation. Plans for final reclamation may be postponed until later. Contact one of the Natural Resource Specialists in our office for a seed mix prescription.

11. Surface ownership -Indicate the surface land ownership for all lands that will be crossed by roads as well as the ownership of the land the well will be drilled on.

12. Other information - if there is other information that will help the BLM consider the drilling permit it should be included here. 


The Rock Springs Field Office has noted several things that delay the timely processing of applications for permit to drill. These occur with enough frequency to warrant special attention and are addressed in detail below.

Class III cultural survey and report - The cultural report should be submitted with the APD or very shortly thereafter if the applicant expects the permit to be issued within the 30 day timeframe that the BLM commits to in Onshore Oil and Gas Order No. 1.

Right-of-way - If a federal right-of-way is needed to access the well location, the right of way application should be submitted in conjunction with the APD. We will not issue a permit to drill until the Federal right-of-way is granted.

Road survey and design - We will often require a survey and design, certified by a civil engineer, for the access road. These survey and design plans must be submitted to our Office in Rock Springs where they are reviewed and approved by a BLM civil engineer. These survey and design plans are often not submitted until late in the permitting process and can slow down the approval process.

Private landowner agreement - Often private land must be crossed to access a well site on Federal land. Until we are convinced that some agreement has been reached with the landowner, we will not issue the drilling permit.

Designation of agent - If an operator wishes to drill within an approved Federal Unit wherein they are not the Unit Operator, a formal designation of agent must be on file in our office. Waiting for the applicant to obtain this authorization from the Unit Operator often delays us approving an APD.

Plan of development for a federal unit - Article 10 of the Federal Unit agreement calls for all wells within a Federal Unit to be included in an approved plan of development for the unit area. Not having a prior approval of this plan of development, or neglecting to include a particular well in the plan, can delay the approval of an APD.

Spacing exception - We will not approve a well that does not conform to Wyoming Oil and Gas Commission Spacing orders until we have evidence that the operator has obtained a spacing exception. This is often overlooked until late in the permitting process and can delay the timely processing of an otherwise complete application.