The proposed rules would amend state regulations for casing and cementing wells. The Department of Environmental Protection proposed the rule changes to strengthen construction standards for oil and gas wells. A properly cased and cemented well is critical to keeping gas, oil and other fluids contained inside the well bore and away from fresh groundwater.
According to the EQB, a large portion of the updates contained in the proposal are already employed as part of best management practices among operators. The more rigorous standards are intended to prevent gas from migrating from a well, where it could contaminate a water supply or possibly enter a home and reach combustible levels. Among the new standards would be requirements for pressure-testing those casings used in Marcellus Shale wells, for using oilfield-grade cement, and for using blowout preventers.