Regulating Ohio’s oil and natural gas industry and protecting all Ohioans and our environment while ensuring the state’s abundant natural resources are managed and developed responsibly. The Division of Oil and Gas (Division) was created in 1965 within the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The Division is responsible for regulating Ohio’s oil and natural gas industry and for the protection of all Ohioans and our environment while ensuring the state’s abundant natural resources are managed properly. In 2020, the Division has more than 130 inspectors, engineers, geologists, attorneys, hydrologists, surveyors, health physicists, and support personnel overseeing Ohio's oil and gas industry. The Division's programs and sections include:
The Division's regulatory responsibilities include:
- Oil and gas drilling operations
- Oil and gas production operations
- Underground injection operations
- Oil & gas waste recycling, treatment, storage, processing and disposal operations
- Staff inspect the drilling, plugging and restoration of all oil and gas wells in the state
- Solution mining
- Gas storage operations
- Staff permits and inspect the construction of horizontal well sites to ensure the safe drilling of wells
- Staff inspects the drilling, restoration, and plugging of all oil and gas wells in the state
Since 2010, there have been many changes to Ohio law and rules that make our regulatory standards some of the most comprehensive in the country. Our regulations are written to protect Ohioans and our environment, but also to make sense to the companies we regulate. A brief summary of these important changes follow.
Effective June 2010, Senate Bill 165 modernized well construction language, established performance objectives, established and increased regulatory fees, required inspector notifications, expanded reporting requirements, and dedicated funding to the Orphan Well Program.
In September 2011, House Bill 153 established the Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management. Previously in 2000, the Divisions of Oil & Gas and Reclamation had been merged to create the Division of Mineral Resources Management. Reestablishing the Division as a stand-alone statutory agency acknowledged the importance of the Division’s role in regulating the growing horizontal shale gas industry.
In 2012, the Division enhanced well construction guidelines; saw the implementation of updates designed to deal with horizontal shale drilling; enacted new rules regarding underground injection control; and increased our staff to better regulate the state’s growing oil and gas industry.
New well construction rules took effect Aug. 1, 2012. Ohio’s standards now address state-specific geology, hydrology, surface conditions, and drilling practices with solutions that have been praised by regulatory experts with extensive experience in Ohio.
Senate Bill 315 took effect on Sept. 11, 2012, providing the Division the necessary regulations to oversee the increased activity in horizontal shale drilling. Ohio now has clear and consistent regulations dealing with chemical disclosure, brine hauling, water sampling, and water use disclosure.
New operating, monitoring and reporting rules for injection wells were implemented on Oct. 1, 2012. These new rules were created to further strengthen the state’s Underground Injection Control (UIC) monitoring program by requiring additional geologic evaluation, injection well monitoring, and testing. These standards and a new seismic monitoring program will allow the division to better monitor and research seismicity across Ohio.
Effective September 2013, House Bill 59 requires quarterly production reporting for horizontal shale wells, addresses technically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material resulting from construction, operation or plugging of a horizontal well, prohibits the spreading of brine on roads from a horizontal well, and creates a permitting process for treatment, recycling, temporary storage, and processing of brine.
Rules governing the construction of horizontal well sites took effect in 2015, administered through the Engineering section. In 2016, rules were promulgated governing notifications for certain oil and gas-related emergencies. This coincided with the creation of the Emergency Operations and Response section. In 2019, rules regarding the spacing of oil and gas wells and collection of brine disposal fees were promulgated.
The Division is undergoing a thorough review and reorganization of its rules in Ohio Administrative Code 1501:9. New rules governing the plugging of oil and gas wells were promulgated and took effect in August of 2020.