Energy News Today

Audit of CalGEM says California oil regulators issued improper permits

California oil regulators ignored their own regulations and issued improper permits for hundreds of new wells last year, according to an audit by the state Department of Finance that was finalized this week.

That’s one of the findings in the long-awaited report, which concluded that while the troubled California Geologic Energy Management Divisionor CalGEM, “generally” complied with laws governing safe underground injection and fracking techniques, there were notable exceptions and significant room for improvement, including:

  • DUMMY FOLDERS. The audit found that CalGEM created 33 “placeholder” folders for large steam projects that were supposed to undergo geologic and engineering reviews. Fourteen of those were used to issue 201 related permits from April through October 2019. But there was no evidence that required reviews were conducted and the overall project was properly approved; instead, permits were issued with a “placeholder” project number. 
  • IMPROPER MODIFICATIONS OF PROJECTS. Auditors found that the agency allowed companies to modifylarge oilfield projects without forcing them to complete required additional reviews. In one instance, regulators signed off on a 640-acre oilfield expansion, adding 400 new wells to an existing project.
  • OUT-OF-DATE POLICIES. Although CalGEM’s oil and gas supervisor finalized new regulations for injection wells per the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act in April 2019, it hasn’t bothered to update its own internal policies and processes to enforce those regulations. Instead, staff rely on badly outdated 2010 procedures or no standardized processes, the review found. There are multiple types of injection wells; some are used to inject contaminated wastewater from oil operations beneath the surface, while others blast steam underground to loosen up heavy crude oil.
  • SHODDY AND MISSING PAPERWORK. Staff incorrectly mapped and diagrammed some proposed fracking projects, and there was no available documentation of risk assessments they supposedly performed for others.

Read More: Audit of CalGEM says California oil regulators issued improper permits

2020-11-26 12:36:21

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy