The United States of America is one of the few countries around the world that permit private citizens to own mineral rights. Within the borders of our country, rules, regulations, and policies differ heavily from state to state on a number of issues. For oil and gas, this is no different as state permits will vary throughout different territories.
In this quick information blog, we will define what state permits for oil and gas are and answer some of the most common questions regarding who, what, and where oil and gas permits must be filed. After diving into the basics for these terms, we will provide a few additional resources in which information about local state permits and drilling permits can be found.
What are oil and gas permits?
In the world of mineral rights, such as oil and gas, a permit is an application that must be filed with the local government to drill, complete, re-enter, or complete a well. Permits are required in all states in which oil and gas drilling is permitted, and are usually filed with the Land Office of a state government.
Who is required to submit a state permit for oil and gas?
State permits are issued to oil and gas operators for active or soon-to-be active mineral rights. Mineral rights owners do not need to worry about filing a state permit, as that paperwork will be done by the oil or gas operator.
Only issued to American citizens, state permits must be filed by oil and gas operator employees that are legally allowed to work on the project. More often than not, companies will have a dedicated landman to file permits that are not directly involved with any of the other parts of the overall oil and gas operation.
When are these permits filed?
Within any organization, state permits are typically filed as soon as possible after action is taken on an oil and gas lease. If the well is ready to be drilled or completed for the first, second, or final time, a permit must be filled at every step along the way.
In typical instances, permits will last for one full calendar year before expiring. This may vary by the state or the nature of the permit as well.
Why is permitting required for oil and gas?
State permitting is required to ensure the ongoing health of the earth and the success of an oil and gas operation. Unpermitted drillings may cause damage to the earth or reserves which could lead to catastrophic environmental and economic damage.
Oil and gas permits are required in order to ensure the health and safety of:
- All mining operations
- The quality of air, water, and earth
- Well drilling
- Use of roads
- Resource storage
- And more
Is it possible to file these permits on federal land?
Yes, in some parts of the country federally reserved land does not technically belong to any state in particular, even if found entirely within one’s borders. In states like Nevada, Arizona, and more it may be possible to file an oil and gas permit for the exploration or extraction of natural resources from federal lands. Information for outstanding federal mineral rights can be seen here.
Resources for filing State Permits for These Resources
Although not every state has a dedicated mineral rights office, most states in the Union have at least one main point of contact or center of information to file permits for oil and gas operations. If you are looking for a reference for your local state, we will include some of the most popular state resources below.
Texas: Please see the GLO energy business resource page for mining on state lands within the Lone Star State. Commissioned by George W. Bush, GLO provides resources and permits for prospecting, leasing, and mining operations.
Oklahoma: The Department of Environmental Quality is Oklahoma’s home for general oil and gas permits as well as specific applications for special operations and businesses.
North Dakota: North Dakota-based operators can make use of the Frequently Asked Questions page for the state’s oil and gas permitting processes.
Colorado: In the centennial state, oil and gas permits are issued by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
Pennsylvania: Resources for the Keystone state’s oil and gas permitting process can be found on the PA Department of Environmental Protection website.
Nevada: Please see the State of Nevada Commission of Mineral Resources Division of Minerals page for current information on state permits.
Arizona: Since 1915, Arizona’s State Land Department has been the best resource for locating and filing state mineral exploration and drilling permits.
If you have more questions about these permits, feel free to ask us here.