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State Regulations: Alabama

State of Alabama

The State Oil and Gas Board of Alabama, under the direction of the State Geologist and Oil and Gas Supervisor, is responsible for the regulation of oil and gas operations. The Board is divided into two administrative regions–north and south. The Board has broad authority in Alabama's oil and gas conservation statutes to promulgate and enforce rules and regulations to ensure the conservation and proper development of Alabama's petroleum resources. A major duty of the Board is to prevent pollution of fresh water supplies by oil, gas, salt water, or other contaminants resulting from oil and gas operations. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) administers the major federal environmental protection laws through regulations governing air pollution, water quality and supply, solid and hazardous waste management.

Contact

State Oil and Gas Board of Alabama
420 Hackberry Lane
P.O. Box 869999
Tuscaloosa, AL 35486-6999
(205) 349-2852 (phone)

Alabama Department of Environmental Management
Post Office Box 301463
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-1463 (mailing address)

1400 Coliseum Blvd.
Montgomery, AL 36110 (street address)
(334) 271-7700 (phone)

Disposal Practices and Applicable Regulations

The State Oil and Gas Board of Alabama offers online access to its Rules and Regulations. The window directs the viewer through a combination of pull-down menus.

  • Onshore Operations (Rule 400-1): in top pull-down menu, click on 400-1 Onshore Rules; then, in bottom pull-down menu, click on 400-1-4 Drilling; and finally, scroll down and view 400-1-4-11 Recycling or Disposal of Pit Fluids and Pit Closure. The Board allows the injection of all fluids and recoverable slurry from reserve pits down the surface casing/production casing annulus of a newly completed well and into the open-hole well bore of a newly drilled dry hole prior to plugging. Approval must be obtained prior to subsurface disposal.
    • Pressure testing to demonstrate mechanical integrity of the surface casing must be conducted and recorded.
    • o During disposal of drilling waste, the injection pressure shall not exceed 90% of the test pressure applied to demonstrate mechanical integrity.
    • Subsurface disposal must be protective of underground sources of drinking water.
    • In most cases, an operator will pump pit fluids and recoverable slurry into the well bore. A dozer is used to squeeze the pit as disposal progresses in order to recover all fluids possible. Once this has been accomplished, the operator could spread the remaining solid to semi-solid fraction of the pit on the well site. If the pit fluids and recoverable slurry materials are transported off location, then the materials are to be manifested and disposed of in an approved disposal facility (landfill) or otherwise recycled or disposed of in accordance with appropriate permit(s) and regulation(s). (Note: the Alabama Department of Environmental Management regulates offsite disposal.) Pits are to be backfilled and compacted within 90 days. After all fluids and recoverable slurry in the pits have been disposed of, the operator may leave the pit for use by the landowner, if the surface owner makes a written statement to the State Oil and Gas Board.

    • For Coalbed Methane Operations (Rule 400-3), specific rules and regulations apply: in top pull-down menu, click on 400-3 Coalbed Methane Rules; then, in bottom pull-down menu, click on 400-3-4 Drilling; and finally, scroll down and view 400-3-4-11 Recycling or Disposal of Pit Fluids and Pit Closure.


  • Offshore Operations (Rule 400-2): in top pull-down menu, click on 400-2 Offshore Rules; then, in bottom pull-down menu, click on 400-2-4 Drilling; and finally, scroll down and view 400-2-4-10 Recycling or Disposal of Pit Fluids and Pit Closure. The Board allows the injection of all fluids that remain in tank (offshore operations) down the surface casing/production casing annulus of a newly completed well and into the open-hole well bore of a newly drilled dry hole prior to plugging. Prior to subsurface disposal, approval must be obtained.
    • Pressure testing to demonstrate mechanical integrity of the surface casing must be conducted and recorded.
    • During disposal of drilling waste, the injection pressure shall not exceed 90% of the test pressure applied to demonstrate mechanical integrity.
    • Subsurface disposal must be protective of underground sources of drinking water.


  • Salt Cavern Disposal. Alabama hosts the large McIntosh dome, which is used to store natural gas in salt cavities at two project locations. However, no request has been made by an operator to develop salt cavern disposal facilities for oil and gas waste. Although the storage of natural gas is not required to be regulated under the Board's Class II Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program, the disposal of drilling waste probably would be regulated in accordance with the rules and regulations governing Class II Underground Injection Control Operations (Rules 400-4-1-01 et seq.): in top pull-down menu, click on 400-4 Underground Injection Rules; then, in bottom pull-down menu, click on 400-4-1 General; and finally, view the rules governing program applicability. Note: the Alabama Department of Environmental Management would have to be involved in the decision process, since it regulates Class III solution mining operations associated with cavity development.


  • The relevant Rules and Regulations are:
    • Rule 400-1-4-11. Recycling or Disposal of Pit Fluids and Pit Closure (Onshore Lands Operations)
    • Rule 400-2-4-10. Recycling or Disposal of Tank Fluids (Submerged Offshore Lands Operations)
    • Rule 400-3-4-11. Recycling or Disposal of Pit Fluids and Pit Closure (Coalbed Methane Gas Operations)
    • Rules 400-4-1-01 et seq. (Underground Injection Control Operations)
  • Selected State Oil and Gas Board Forms:
    • OGB-1. Application for Permit to Drill, Deepen, Convert, or Amend
    • OGB-1C. Application for Permit to Inject Fluids
    • OGB-12. Operator's Certificate of Compliance and Authorization to Transport Oil, Gas, or Condensate from Well
    • OGB-17. Monthly Report of Fluids Injected
    • OGB-21. Authorization to Clean Tank
    • OGB-25. Transporter's Certificate of Eligibility to Transport Wastes
    • OGB-26. Wastes Manifest
    • OGB-27. Notification of Fire, Spill, Leak, or Blowout (Incident Report)