Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Fact-Checking: Completion Deadlines? -- April 8, 2015

Back on March 15, 2015, I said that North Dakota requires that wells be completed within a year of being drilled. I did not provide a source but I recall vividly having read that somewhere. A reader has called me on that -- if I had a source for that.

I think my source was a good source, but for all I know it was a comment made by a reader who has a friend who has a sister whose husband works somewhere in North Dakota who made that comment in passing.

Until recently, there was probably no concern about deadlines for completing a well, but it's a good question. So, if anyone knows ... a lot of readers would appreciate it.


12:50 p.m. CT, same day:  You asked readers for help in finding information on subject. The only definitive ND official information I have found is at: See Section 43-02-03-55. Abandonment of wells or treating plants - Suspension of drilling.

The pertinent first paragraph reads:
1. The removal of production equipment or the failure to produce oil or gas, or the removal of production equipment or the failure to produce water from a source well, for one year constitutes abandonment of the well. The removal of injection equipment or the failure to use an injection well for one year constitutes abandonment of the well. The failure to plug a stratigraphic test hole within one year of reaching total depth constitutes abandonment of the well. The removal of treating plant equipment or the failure to use a treating plant for one year constitutes abandonment of the treating plant.
Generally speaking, when I review file reports, wells that have not been completed have little to no production. 


  1. Bruce, it is also interesting to look at some of the abandoned well case files in ND. Even if a well is declared abandoned, it seems like it can take many years (many letters) before any action is taken. It would be my guess (I used to work for the NDGS) that even if the NDIC was pushing a company to either complete or formally abandon a well, the process would take long enough that the economics could be completely different and the company would readily complete the well. Just my thoughts.

    1. You are absolutely correct. I have had similar thoughts. I would like to post some of m opinions but I have no formal training or background, and the farther out on the limb I get with my opinions, the less credible the blog becomes (some would say the blog lost its credibility years ago -- smile). So, I depend on readers to provide some of these thoughts. Thank you.

      In the relatively "new" Bakken, I bet the wells are very, very closely watched by surface owners; down in Cedar Hills, southwest ND, it's probably hard to keep up with all the old wells. Maybe same could be said around Tioga; don't know.

  2. And this is accountable if there's a producing well on the same property ?

    1. Each well stands on its own merit as far as the NDIC is concerned.