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H-15 Program - Testing of Older Inactive Wells Over 25 Years Old Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Updated: 09/22/10

1. Why do the H-15 test?

The H-15 test is required to establish that an inactive well over 25 years old does not pose a potential threat of harm to natural resources, including surface and subsurface water, oil and gas.

2. When is the test required?

The test notice is sent when Commission records identify a well more than 25 years old that is inactive or has not reported production during the previous twelve-month period.  The testing schedule is based on the annual field-testing schedule for the well’s completion field.

A web link to the schedule for well testing is:  www.rrc.state.tx.us/compliance/h15program/index.php

3. What kind of test can I do?

The actual test is generally either a static well fluid level test (FL) or a mechanical integrity test (MIT).  The test reports are submitted to the Commission on Form H-15.  There are other approved methods of testing.

4. Where do I send the test reports?

The H-15 fluid level test reports are sent to the Austin Field Operations.  The H-15 mechanical integrity test reports are sent to the appropriate district office.

5. What if I do not turn in a test?

Failure to provide a test report by the required due date will result in the denial of the plugging extension for the well and the mailing of a 30 Day Pre-Severance Certified Notice.

6. What if my wells are unable to be tested as described in the rules?

Wells that cannot be tested as described in the rules should be brought to the attention of Austin Field Operations and a request made for an exception.  The Field Operations personnel will evaluate each request on a case-by-case basis.

7. What if the well has already been plugged?

If the well has been plugged, provide a copy of the Plugging Report (Form W-3) as filed with the District Office to the H-15 group in Austin.

8. What if my well fails the H-15 test?

If the test report was submitted, you will be sent a “failed test” letter explaining your options.

9. Can I get more time to file a test, plug or repair the well?

Yes, extensions of time may be requested by contacting Austin Field Operations.  For good cause, the Field Operations Section in Austin may issue an extension of time.  These extensions are considered on a case-by-case basis.

10. What if my well was returned to production?

Statewide Rule 15(l)(7) requires that a fluid level test be run within 12 months or a mechanical integrity within 60 months prior to returning a well to productionFailure to conduct the required test could result in a referral for Legal Enforcement action.

To return an inactive well to “active” status a Well Status Report (Form W-10 or Form G-10, RETEST) must be filed and the well must produce either 10 barrels of oil per month (BOPM) or 100 mcf of gas per month (MCFPM) for three (3) consecutive months.  If sufficient production cannot be accomplished prior to the test due date, contact the Austin Field Operations section.

11. What happens if my well is not capable of producing either the 10 BOPM or 100 MCFPM for 3 months?

The Commission will continue to send you an annual H-15 test request since the well remains classified as “inactive”.  When the subsequent test request is received, you should notify Austin Field Operations of the situation in writing, email or by facsimile.

12. What if my well was re-completed to another interval?

The H-15 testing requirement is tied to the actual well bore.  If the well was re-completed to another interval, the testing requirements and production requirements of Statewide Rule15 remain applicable.

13. What if I do not conduct the tests?

Failure to conduct the required test could result in a referral for Legal Enforcement action.  This legal action may result in administrative penalties, a Commission order to plug the wells, collection against your financial assurance and cancellation of your authority to operate oil and gas leases within the State of Texas.  Please contact the Austin Field Operations section if you have questions.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Austin Field Operations: H-15
Telephone:          (512) 463-6830
Facsimile:            (512) 463-7328
Email:               h15info@rrc.state.tx.us