Idaho Oil & Gas Drilling Rules Approved

by Kenneth E. DuBose on November 17, 2011

Idaho oil and gas drilling rules have been approved. The rules include a comment period before drilling and completions, lined holding pits, no fluid pits in freshwater source areas, and bonds with the state that start at $10,000 plus $1 for every foot. The oil and gas industry and beginning to develop in the state, but development of the West Hamilton  and Willow fields is likely delayed until Bridge Resources re-establishes a management team.


The rules set a 15-day public comment period before a permit can be issued for drilling or well treatments — also called mini-fracking, because liquids are pumped down wells under high pressure to increase flows.

Horizontal fracturing — known as fracking — is done in shale deposits and uses higher pressures. Natural gas in Southwest Idaho is not found in shale, and no one is talking about fracking here.

But many of the same fluids are used in well treatments, and the new rules require that pits used to hold the liquids be lined to prevent leakage into groundwater. No pits are allowed in areas set aside to protect drinking water.

The rules also set up requirements for bonds of $10,000 per well, plus an additional dollar for every foot drilled. A company also could opt for a blanket bond, covering up to 30 wells for $150,000. The bonds would cover the state’s cost of closing the well, should the wells be abandoned or the companies go out of business.

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