Administrative Code

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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
12/4/2021

4VAC25-150-450. Identification, plugging and control of wells or coreholes in which radioactive source logging tools have been abandoned.

A. Permittees shall, by the quickest available means, notify the division of the loss of a radioactive source in a well or corehole.

B. No radioactive source shall be declared abandoned until all reasonable effort has been expended to retrieve the radioactive source tool.

C. A well or corehole in which a radioactive source has been abandoned shall be mechanically equipped and plugged so as to prevent either accidental or intentional mechanical disintegration of the radioactive source, as follows:

1. Sources abandoned in the bottom of the hole shall be covered with a 100-foot standard color cement plug, dyed with red iron oxide, and an approved deflection device shall be placed on top of the plug. The dye is to alert any reentry operator prior to encountering the source. From this point to the surface, the well or corehole shall be plugged as provided in 4VAC25-150-435.

2. Sources lost in locations other than in the bottom of the hole shall be abandoned in accordance with the following standards:

a. If a well or corehole with the lost radioactive source will be abandoned and plugged, then a 100-foot standard color cement plug, dyed with red iron oxide, shall be placed above the abandoned source and an approved deflection device shall be placed on top of the plug. From this point to the surface, the well or corehole shall be plugged as provided in 4VAC25-150-435.

b. If a well or corehole is to be deviated or sidetracked around a lost radioactive source, then a 100-foot standard color cement plug, dyed with red iron oxide, shall be placed above the abandoned source, and an approved deflection device shall be placed on top of the plug.

c. Upon abandoning a well in which a radioactive source has been cemented in place behind a casing string above total depth, a 100-foot standard color cement plug, dyed with red iron oxide, shall be placed opposite the abandoned source and an approved deflection device placed on top of the plug, in addition to the plugging standards provided in 4VAC25-150-435.

3. If a permittee finds, after expending reasonable effort, that hole conditions make it impossible to abandon the source as prescribed in subdivision C 1 or C 2 of this section, then the permittee shall apply for a variance from the director for an alternate abandonment procedure.

D. Upon plugging and abandoning any well or corehole in which a radioactive source has been left in the hole, and after removing the wellhead equipment, a permanent plaque shall be attached to the top of the casing left in the hole in such a manner that reentry cannot be accomplished without disturbing the plaque. The plaque shall serve as a visual warning to any person reentering the hole that a radioactive source has been abandoned in place in the well. The plaque shall contain the trefoil radiation symbol with a radioactive warning and shall be constructed of a long-lasting material such as monel, stainless steel or brass.

E. The permittee shall erect a permanent marker as a visual warning to any person who may reenter the hole for any reason, showing that the hole contains a radioactive source. In addition to meeting the requirements of 4VAC25-150-460, any marker for a hole containing a radioactive source shall bear the following information:

1. Surface location of the well;

2. Name of the lease;

3. Source of material abandoned in the well;

4. Total depth of the well;

5. Depth at which the source has been abandoned;

6. Date of the abandonment of the source;

7. Activity of the source;

8. Plug-back depth; and

9. A warning not to drill below the plug-back depth.

F. The information required by subsection E of this section shall be provided with the plugging affidavit submitted pursuant to 4VAC25-150-460.

Statutory Authority

§§ 45.1-161.3 and 45.1-361.27 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-05-22.1 § 1.45, eff. September 25, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 15, Issue 2, eff. November 11, 1998.

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