Monday, February 27, 2012

State Office of Oil & Gas Working To Hire More Employees, Cut Permit Time In Half

The Chief of West Virginia's Office of Oil & Gas says his agency is in the process of hiring more employees and working to cut the permitting time process in half. His comments were provided recently when interviewed by W.Va. Public Radio. Provided below are excerpts from his interview:

WV DEP Chief of the Office of Oil and Gas James Martin says while issuing new permits is still a slow process right now, the hiring of new employees and support staff is imminent.

Martin also says that among the larger changes in his division are the changes in permitting requirements which have been adapted to the more complicated needs of horizontal drilling operations. The new legislation requires professional engineering designs for the well sites, in addition to erosion and sediment control plans.

"There’s a requirement for a well site safety plan," Martin says, "and there’s also a requirement for a water management plan, to look at the water that’s used specifically as it relates to the surface water withdrawals. I guess we’ll find out as we go along if things need to be tweaked, but at this point, we feel comfortable that the increased funding, as soon as it comes in like we projected, will allow us what we need to go forward."

To date 1,400 horizontal wells have been permitted and the wait for a permit today is about 100 days. Officials from the DEP hope that the number of days it will take to issue a permit will drop to 45 by this summer. The new legislation requires no less than 33 days.

Click to read the entire W.Va. Public Radio story.