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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources
Agency 25. Department of Energy
Chapter 150. Virginia Gas and Oil Regulation

4VAC25-150-10. Definitions.

The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Act" means the Virginia Gas and Oil Act, Chapter 16 ( § 45.2-1600 et seq.) of Title 45.2 of the Code of Virginia.

"Adequate channel" means a watercourse that will convey the designated frequency storm event without overtopping its banks or causing erosive damage to the bed, banks and overbank sections.

"Applicant" means any person or business who files an application with the Division of Gas and Oil.

"Approved" means accepted as suitable for its intended purpose when included in a permit issued by the director or determined to be suitable in writing by the director.

"Berm" means a ridge of soil or other material constructed along an active earthen fill to divert runoff away from the unprotected slope of the fill to a stabilized outlet or sediment trapping facility.

"Board" means the Virginia Gas and Oil Board.

"Bridge plug" means an obstruction intentionally placed in a well at a specified depth.

"CAS number" means the unique number identifier for a chemical substance assigned by the Chemical Abstracts Service.

"Cased completion" means a technique used to make a well capable of production in which production casing is set through the productive zones.

"Cased/open hole completion" means a technique used to make a well capable of production in which at least one zone is completed through casing and at least one zone is completed open hole.

"Casing" means all pipe set in wells except conductor pipe and tubing.

"Causeway" means a temporary structural span constructed across a flowing watercourse or wetland to allow construction traffic to access the area without causing erosion damage.

"Cement" means hydraulic cement properly mixed with water.

"Cement bond log" means an acoustic survey or sonic-logging method that records the quality or hardness of the cement used in the annulus to bond the casing and the formation.

"Centralizer" means a device secured around the casing at regular intervals to center it in the hole.

"Channel" means a natural stream or man-made waterway.

"Chemical Disclosure Registry" means the chemical registry website known as developed by the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

"Chief" means the Chief of the Division of Mines of the Department of Energy.

"Coal-protection string" means a casing designed to protect a coal seam by excluding all fluids, oil, gas, or gas pressure from the seam, except such as may be found in the coal seam itself.

"Cofferdam" means a temporary structure in a river, lake, or other waterway for keeping the water from an enclosed area that has been pumped dry so that bridge foundations, pipelines, etc., may be constructed.

"Completion" means the process that results in a well being capable of producing gas or oil.

"Conductor pipe" means the short, large diameter string used primarily to control caving and washing out of unconsolidated surface formations.

"Corehole" means any hole drilled solely for the purpose of obtaining rock samples or other information to be used in the exploration for coal, gas, or oil. The term shall not include a borehole used solely for the placement of an explosive charge or other energy source for generating seismic waves.

"Days" means calendar days.

"Denuded area" means land that has been cleared of vegetative cover.

"Department" means the Department of Energy.

"Detention basin" means a stormwater management facility which temporarily impounds and discharges runoff through an outlet to a downstream channel. Infiltration is negligible when compared to the outlet structure discharge rates. The facility is normally dry during periods of no rainfall.

"Dike" means an earthen embankment constructed to confine or control fluids.

"Directional survey" means a well survey that measures the degree of deviation of a hole from true vertical, and the distance and direction of points in the hole from vertical.

"Director" means the Director of the Department of Energy or his authorized agent.

"Diversion" means a channel constructed for the purpose of intercepting surface runoff.

"Diverter" or "diverter system" means an assembly of valves and piping attached to a gas or oil well's casing for controlling flow and pressure from a well.

"Division" means the Division of Gas and Oil of the Department of Energy.

"Emergency response plan" means the document that details the steps to prevent, control, and provide adequate countermeasures for a petroleum product discharge not covered by the spill prevention, control, and countermeasures plan or for a non-petroleum product discharge.

"Erosion and sediment control plan" means a document containing a description of materials and methods to be used for the conservation of soil and the protection of water resources in or on a unit or group of units of land. It may include appropriate maps, an appropriate soil and water plan inventory and management information with needed interpretations, and a record of decisions contributing to conservation treatment. The plan shall contain a record of all major conservation decisions to ensure that the entire unit or units of land will be so treated to achieve the conservation objectives.

"Expanding cement" means any cement approved by the director that expands during the hardening process, including but not limited to regular oil field cements with the proper additives.

"Firewall" means an earthen dike or fire resistant structure built around a tank or tank battery to contain the oil in the event a tank ruptures or catches fire.

"Flume" means a constructed device lined with erosion-resistant materials intended to convey water on steep grades.

"Flyrock" means any material propelled by a blast that would be actually or potentially hazardous to persons or property.

"Form prescribed by the director" means a form issued by the division, or an equivalent facsimile, for use in meeting the requirements of the Act or this chapter.

"Gas well" means any well which produces or appears capable of producing a ratio of 6,000 cubic feet (6 Mcf) of gas or more to each barrel of oil, on the basis of a gas-oil ratio test.

"Gob well" means a coalbed methane gas well that is capable of producing coalbed methane gas from the de-stressed zone associated with any full-seam extraction of coal that extends above and below the mined-out coal seam.

"Groundwater" means all water under the ground, wholly or partially within or bordering the Commonwealth or within its jurisdiction, which has the potential for being used for domestic, industrial, commercial, or agricultural use or otherwise affects the public welfare.

"Highway" means any public street, public alley, or public road.

"Hydraulic fracturing" means the treatment of a well by the application of hydraulic fracturing fluid under pressure for the express purpose of initiating or propagating fractures in a target geologic formation to enhance production of oil or natural gas.

"Hydraulic fracturing fluid" means the fluid, including the applicable base fluid and all additives, used to perform hydraulic fracturing treatment.

"Inclination survey" means a survey taken inside a wellbore that measures the degree of deviation of the point of the survey from true vertical.

"Inhabited building" means a building, regularly occupied in whole or in part by human beings, including, but not limited to, a private residence, church, school, store, public building or other structure where people are accustomed to assemble except for a building being used on a temporary basis, on a permitted site, for gas, oil, or geophysical operations.

"Intermediate string" means a string of casing that prevents caving, shuts off connate water in strata below the water-protection string, and protects strata from exposure to lower zone pressures.

"Live watercourse" means a definite channel with bed and banks within which water flows continuously.

"Mcf" means, when used with reference to natural gas, 1,000 cubic feet of gas at a pressure base of 14.73 pounds per square inch gauge and a temperature base of 60°F.

"Mud" means a mixture of materials that creates a weighted fluid to be circulated downhole during drilling operations for the purpose of lubricating and cooling the bit, removing cuttings, and controlling formation pressures and fluid.

"Natural channel" or "natural stream" means nontidal waterways that are part of the natural topography. They usually maintain a continuous or seasonal flow during the year and are characterized as being irregular in cross section with a meandering course.

"Nonerodible" means a material such as riprap, concrete, or plastic that will not experience surface wear due to natural forces.

"Oil well" means any well that produces or appears capable of producing a ratio of less than 6,000 cubic feet (6 Mcf) of gas to each barrel of oil, on the basis of a gas-oil ratio test.

"Open hole completion" means a technique used to make a well capable of production in which no production casing is set through the productive zones.

"Person" means any individual, corporation, partnership, association, company, business, trust, joint venture, or other legal entity.

"Plug" means the sealing of, or a device or material used for the sealing of, a gas or oil wellbore or casing to prevent the migration of water, gas, or oil from one stratum to another.

"Pre-development" means the land use and site conditions that exist at the time that the operations plan is submitted to the division.

"Produced waters" means water or fluids produced from a gas well, oil well, coalbed methane gas well, or gob well as a byproduct of producing gas, oil, or coalbed methane gas.

"Producer" means a permittee operating a well in Virginia that is producing or is capable of producing gas or oil.

"Production string" means a string of casing or tubing through which the well is completed and may be produced and controlled.

"Red shales" means the undifferentiated shaley portion of the Bluestone formation normally found above the Pride Shale Member of the formation, and extending upward to the base of the Pennsylvanian strata, which red shales are predominantly red and green in color but may occasionally be gray, grayish green, and grayish red.

"Red zone" is a zone in or contiguous to a permitted area that could have potential hazards to workers or to the public.

"Retention basin" means a stormwater management facility that, similar to a detention basin, temporarily impounds runoff and discharges its outflow through an outlet to a downstream channel. A retention basin is a permanent impoundment.

"Sediment basin" means a depression formed from the construction of a barrier or dam built to retain sediment and debris.

"Sheet flow" or "overland flow" means shallow, unconcentrated and irregular flow down a slope. The length of strip for sheet flow usually does not exceed 200 feet under natural conditions.

"Slope drain" means tubing or conduit made of nonerosive material extending from the top to the bottom of a cut or fill slope.

"Special diligence" means the activity and skill exercised by a good businessperson in a particular specialty, which must be commensurate with the duty to be performed and the individual circumstances of the case, not merely the diligence of an ordinary person or nonspecialist.

"Spill prevention, control, and countermeasure plan" or "SPCC plan" means the document that details the steps to prevent, control, and provide adequate countermeasures to certain petroleum product discharges.

"Stabilized" means able to withstand normal exposure to air and water flows without incurring erosion damage.

"Stemming" means the inert material placed in a borehole after an explosive charge for the purpose of confining the explosion gases in the borehole or the inert material used to separate the explosive charges (decks) in decked holes.

"Stimulate" means any action taken by a gas or oil operator to increase the inherent productivity of a gas or oil well, including, but not limited to, fracturing, shooting, or acidizing, but excluding (i) cleaning out, bailing, or workover operations and (ii) the use of surface-tension reducing agents, emulsion breakers, paraffin solvents, and other agents that affect the gas or oil being produced, as distinguished from the producing formation.

"Storm sewer inlet" means any structure through which stormwater is introduced into an underground conveyance system.

"Stormwater management facility" means a device that controls stormwater runoff and changes the characteristics of that runoff, including but not limited to, the quantity, quality, the period of release, or the velocity of flow.

"String of pipe" or "string" means the total footage of pipe of uniform size set in a well. The term embraces conductor pipe, casing, and tubing. When the casing consists of segments of different size, each segment constitutes a separate string. A string may serve more than one purpose.

"Sulfide stress cracking" means embrittlement of the steel grain structure to reduce ductility and cause extreme brittleness or cracking by hydrogen sulfide.

"Surface mine" means an area containing an open pit excavation, surface operations incident to an underground mine, or associated activities adjacent to the excavation or surface operations, from which coal or other minerals are produced for sale, exchange, or commercial use and includes all buildings and equipment above the surface of the ground used in connection with such mining.

"Target formation" means the geologic gas or oil formation identified by the well operator in his application for a gas, oil or geophysical drilling permit.

"Temporary stream crossing" means a temporary span installed across a flowing watercourse for use by construction traffic. Structures may include bridges, round pipes or pipe arches constructed on or through nonerodible material.

"Ten-year storm" means a storm that is capable of producing rainfall expected to be equaled or exceeded on the average of once in 10 years. It may also be expressed as an exceedance probability with a 10% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.

"Tidewater Virginia" means the region defined in § 62.1-44.15:68 of the Code of Virginia.

"Trade secret" means the term defined in § 59.1-336 of the Code of Virginia.

"Tubing" means the small diameter string set after the well has been drilled from the surface to the total depth and through which the gas or oil or other substance is produced or injected.

"Two-year storm" means a storm that is capable of producing rainfall expected to be equaled or exceeded on the average of once in two years. It may also be expressed as an exceedance probability with a 50% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.

"Vertical ventilation hole" means any hole drilled from the surface to the coal seam used only for the safety purpose of removing gas from the underlying coal seam and the adjacent strata, thus, removing the gas that would normally be in the mine ventilation system.

"Water bar" means a small obstruction constructed across the surface of a road, pipeline right-of-way, or other area of ground disturbance in order to interrupt and divert the flow of water on a grade for the purpose of controlling erosion and sediment migration.

"Water-protection string" means a string of casing designed to protect groundwater-bearing strata.

Statutory Authority

§ 45.2-103 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-05-22.1 § 1.1, eff. September 25, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 15, Issue 2, eff. November 11, 1998; Volume 29, Issue 3, eff. November 8, 2012; Volume 30, Issue 1, eff. October 10, 2013; Volume 33, Issue 7, eff. December 28, 2016; Volume 38, Issue 13, eff. March 31, 2022.

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

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