During a call today with horizontal producers hosted by Lewis Glasser, the Chief of the W.Va. Office of Oil & Gas said his agency is working diligently to reduce the time to issue a horizontal drilling permit. Chief James Martin said he expects to cut the current 104-day permit issuance time period to about 45-50 days. He said his agency is adding staff people and inspectors in order to meet new regulatory requirements of the state's Horizontal Well Act, which was enacted in December 2011. Martin said the DEP Secretary has set it as a priority to cut the permit issuance time in half within the next few months.
As for the development of a set of regulations required by the state's new horizontal production law, Martin said he thinks his agency will have this done by early May. At that time the regulations will be issued for public comment and then undergo the formal regulatory review process. The plan is to have the regulations finalized for consideration and final adoption during the 2013 session of the W.Va. Legislature.