Today saw two significant developments for oil and gas operators utilizing well stimulation treatments in California.
Pursuant to SB 4, the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources released a statewide programmatic Draft Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) analyzing the potential environmental impacts associated with well stimulation treatments, including hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”).
The scope of the analysis in the EIR focuses on all activities associated with a stimulation treatment that could occur either at an existing oil and gas well, an oil and gas well that is drilled in the future with the intent to stimulate the well, or a well drilled with a reasonable possibility of becoming subject to a stimulation treatment. The technical analysis is divided into six study regions and addresses 24 environmental subject areas. The public review and comment period for the Draft EIR begins today and will end on March 16, 2015. To review the Draft EIR, visit: http://www.conservation.ca.gov/dog/SB4DEIR/Pages/SB4_DEIR_TOC.aspx.
SB 4 also mandates that the California Resources Agency prepare an independent, scientific study on well stimulation treatments for onshore and offshore oil and gas production in California. The California Council on Science and Technology and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released a portion of that independent scientific assessment today for the Resources Agency regarding well stimulation. The first volume, released today, provides the factual background on well stimulation treatments, and describes the general practices in California and where it has been used. The remaining two volumes are scheduled for full release in July 2015. To view or download the report, visit: http://www.ccst.us/projects/hydraulic_fracturing_public/SB4.php