ABSTRACT: Recent Trenton-Black River Developments in New York, from a Regulatory Perspective
SANFORD, KATHLEEN F., NYSDEC Division of Mineral Resources, Albany, NY
Recent successful development of newly discovered Trenton-Black River natural gas reserves in Steuben County, New York, has spurred deep wildcat drilling activity in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions. The number of wildcat completions in 1998 equaled the total of the previous four years combined, and twice as many wildcat wells were spud in 1999 as were completed in 1998. Most of these wells are two to four times as deep as the "typical" Medina well in western New York, resulting in a longer duration of drilling activities and the associated disturbance.
The Division of Mineral Resources in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for regulating oil and gas drilling and development activities in New York. The recent activity presents the Division with several challenges. These challenges are compounded by depth of the wells and movement of the activity into areas of the state that have not previously experienced significant hydrocarbon exploration and development.
In addition to routine well permitting and regulatory activities, the Division coordinates tracking of new field development and promulgation of appropriate field-wide spacing rules, balances public information needs with trade secret status of new field data, meets with town officials and other concerned citizens in advance of drilling in new areas, and administers the state land leasing program. A competitive lease sale in 1999 generated record-breaking bonus bids by companies seeking mineral rights beneath state lands in Steuben, Schuyler and Chemung Counties.
Search and Discovery Article #90907©2000 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting, London, Ontario, Canada