(1) Prior to the abandonment of a coalbed methane well drilled through a workable coalbed, the well operator shall notify, by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by registered mail, all the coal interest holders of the workable coalbed and the department of the operator’s intention to plug and abandon the well. The notice shall give the number of the well and its location, and fix the time at which the work of plugging and filling will be commenced. The time shall not be less than fifteen (15) days after the day on which the notice was received, or in due course should be received, by the department. The department shall prescribe the form of notice to be used. A representative of any coal interest holder, at his or her own expense and liability, and of the department may be present at the plugging and filling of the well. Regardless of whether representatives appear, the well operator may proceed, at the time fixed, to plug and fill the well. When the well is plugged and filled, an affidavit setting forth the time and manner in which the well was plugged shall be made in triplicate by two (2) persons experienced in plugging and filling wells who participated in the work. The affidavit shall be made on forms furnished by the department. One (1) copy of the affidavit shall be retained by the well operator, one (1) provided to each coal interest holder, and one (1) provided to the department.
(2) In addition to the notification required under subsection (1) of this section, prior to the abandonment of a coalbed methane well the operator shall submit a plugging plan which is subject to approval by the department. The proposed plugging plan shall be designed to allow coal mining to occur through the well after the well is plugged.

Terms Used In Kentucky Statutes 349.025

  • Abandoned: when used in connection with a well or hole means a well or hole which has never been used, or which, in the opinion of the department, will no longer be used for the production of coalbed methane or the injection or disposal of fluid therein. See Kentucky Statutes 349.010
  • Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
  • Certified mail: means any method of governmental, commercial, or electronic delivery that allows a document or package to have proof of:
    (a) Sending the document or package. See Kentucky Statutes 446.010
  • Coal interest holder: means every record coal owner, record coal lessee, mine licensee as defined in KRS 352. See Kentucky Statutes 349.010
  • coal seam: means a seam of coal, whether workable or unworkable. See Kentucky Statutes 349.010
  • Coalbed methane: means gas produced from a reservoir found in a coalbed, a mined-out area, or gob. See Kentucky Statutes 349.010
  • Coalbed methane well: means any well drilled, deepened, converted, or reopened for the purpose of capturing coalbed methane for sale or use. See Kentucky Statutes 349.010
  • Department: means the Department for Natural Resources. See Kentucky Statutes 349.010
  • Operator: means any owner of the right to drill, develop, operate, and produce coalbed methane from a pool and to appropriate the coalbed methane produced therefrom, either for himself or herself, or for himself, herself, and others. See Kentucky Statutes 349.010
  • Person: means any person, corporation, association, partnership, limited liability company, receiver, governmental agency subject to this chapter, trustee, so-called common law or statutory trust, guardian, executor, administrator, or fiduciary of any kind, federal agency, state agency, city, commission, political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or any interstate body. See Kentucky Statutes 349.010
  • Registered mail: means any governmental, commercial, or electronic method of delivery that allows a document or package to have:
    (a) Its chain of custody recorded in a register to enable its location to be tracked. See Kentucky Statutes 446.010
  • Vent hole: means a borehole, shaft driven, or hole dug, drilled, deepened, converted or reopened, which is used for the purpose of releasing or venting coalbed methane to the atmosphere and not for the purpose of capturing or producing coalbed methane for sale or use. See Kentucky Statutes 349.010
  • Well: means any borehole, shaft driven, or hole dug, drilled, deepened, converted or reopened for the purpose of capturing or producing coalbed methane for sale or use. See Kentucky Statutes 349.010
  • Workable coalbed: means :
    (a) Any coalbed twenty-four (24) inches or more in thickness. See Kentucky Statutes 349.010

(3) If a coalbed methane well ceases to produce in paying quantities and no dewatering operations are being conducted for a period of fifteen (15) consecutive months, any coal interest holder or any record oil or gas lessor or lessee of any tract being penetrated by the coalbed methane well, may file a request for hearing pursuant to KRS 349.060, to determine whether the well has been abandoned and should be plugged in accordance with this section. However, nothing in this subsection shall require the plugging and abandonment of a coalbed methane well that is being temporarily shut in by the coalbed methane well operator. Simultaneously with the filing of a request for a hearing with the department, the person requesting the hearing shall send a copy of the request to the coalbed methane well operator.
(4) Any coal interest holder shall have the following rights with respect to a coalbed methane well to be plugged and abandoned:
(a) To convert the coalbed methane well to a vent hole or otherwise take the coalbed methane well. In this event the department, upon determination that the coal interest holder has placed the coalbed methane well under a mining permit, shall release the coalbed methane well operator’s bond and the coalbed methane well operator shall be relieved of further responsibility for the coalbed methane well; and
(b) To file an objection concerning the proposed manner or method of plugging with the department, within fifteen (15) days after receipt of notice of intent to
plug. The department shall consider any objection and may issue an order specifying the manner and method of plugging and reclamation consistent with this section.
(5) All coalbed methane wells shall be plugged and abandoned in accordance with this section. The department shall promulgate regulations specifying the manner and method of plugging vertical and horizontal coalbed methane wells and in so doing, or in entering any order for such plugging and abandonment, shall give consideration to the ability to mine any affected coal seam safely and the protection of any affected coal seam for future mining.
Effective: July 13, 2004
History: Created 2004 Ky. Acts ch. 65, sec. 5, effective July 13, 2004.