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RULE §3.96Underground Storage of Gas in Productive or Depleted Reservoirs

    (B) Each leak detector required under this paragraph shall be tested twice each calendar year at intervals not to exceed 7-1/2 months and, when defective, repaired or replaced within 10 days.

  (2) Warning systems. Within two years of the effective date of this section, all leak detectors required in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be integrated with warning systems that are audible and visible in the control room and at any remote control center. The circuitry shall be designed so that failure of a detector or pressure monitor to function will activate the warning.

  (3) Emergency response plan. Within six months of the effective date of this section, each operator shall submit to the commission a safety plan that includes emergency response procedures, provisions to provide security against unauthorized activity, and gas release detection and prevention measures. The plan shall include a description of and be designed for the residential, commercial, and public land use in the proximity of the gas storage project. The initial plan must be designed based upon the existing safety measures at the facility. The plan shall be updated as changes in safety features at the facility occur, or as the commission or its designee requires. Copies of the plan shall be available at the storage facility and at the company headquarters.

  (4) Safety training. Within six months of the effective date of this section, each operator shall prepare and implement a plan to train and test each employee at each gas storage project on operational safety and emergency response procedures to the extent applicable to the employee's duties and responsibilities. The plan shall be incorporated into the plan addressing the requirements of the United States Department of Transportation and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Each operator shall hold a safety meeting with each contractor prior to the commencement of any new contract work at a gas storage project. Emergency measures specific to the contractor's work shall be explained in the contractor safety meeting.

  (5) Gas withdrawal wells exempt. Gas storage wells that will be used only for gas withdrawal are exempt from the requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection.

(j) Area of review. The applicant shall review the data of public record for wells that penetrate the portion of the gas reservoir that falls within the area proposed to be designated as the gas storage reservoir, and those wells that penetrate the gas reservoir within 1/4 mile of the outer boundary of the proposed gas storage reservoir, to determine if all abandoned wells have been plugged in a manner that will prevent the movement of fluids from the gas storage reservoir. The applicant shall identify in the application any wells which appear from such review of public records to be unplugged or improperly plugged, and any other unplugged or improperly plugged wells of which the applicant has actual knowledge.

(k) Casing. Gas storage wells shall be cased and the casing cemented in compliance with §3.13 of this title (relating to Casing, Cementing, Drilling, and Completion Requirements).

(l) Special equipment.

  (1) Tubing and packer. New wells drilled or converted for injection of gases after April 1, 1982, shall be equipped with tubing set on a mechanical packer. Packers shall be set no higher than 200 feet below the known top of cement behind the long string casing but in no case higher than 150 feet below the base of fresh water.

  (2) Pressure observation valve. The wellhead shall be equipped with a pressure observation valve on the tubing and each annulus of the well.

  (3) Exceptions. An exception to any provision of this subsection may be granted administratively upon a showing of good cause. If a request for an exception is administratively denied, the operator shall have a right to a hearing upon request. After hearing, the examiner shall recommend a final action by the commission.

(m) Well record. Within 30 days after the completion, conversion, or recompletion of a gas storage well, the operator shall file in duplicate in the district office a complete record of the well on the appropriate form which shows the current completion.

(n) Monitoring and reporting.

  (1) Wellhead pressure. The wellhead pressure of each gas storage well shall be continuously recorded, continuously monitored electronically, or controlled by a preset high-low pressure sensor switch.

  (2) Pressure reporting. Information regarding wellhead pressures for each gas storage well shall be reported annually to the commission on the prescribed form.

  (3) Gas metering. The total volume of gas injected into and withdrawn from the storage project shall be metered through a master meter.

  (4) Record retention. All wellhead pressure records, gas metering records, and leak detector test results shall be retained by the operator for at least five years.

  (5) Reporting of leaks. The operator shall report to the appropriate district office the discovery of any pressure changes or other monitoring data that indicate the presence of leaks in the well or the lack of confinement of the injected gases to the gas storage reservoir. Such report shall be made orally as soon as practicable following the discovery of the leak, and shall be confirmed in writing within five working days.

  (6) Gas volume reports. On or before the last day of each month, the operator of each gas storage project that stores gas to supply a public utility shall file with the commission a report showing the volume of gas placed into storage and the volume of gas removed from storage at the project during the preceding month. The report shall also state the total volume of gas stored on the first and last days of the preceding month. This report shall be filed in a format acceptable to the commission.

(o) Integrity testing.

  (1) Prior to commencing operations. Before beginning gas injection operations, the operator shall pressure test the long string casing, or the tubing-casing annulus if the well is equipped with tubing set in a packer. Gas storage wells in which injection occurs through casing shall be tested at the maximum authorized injection pressure. Gas storage wells in which injection occurs through tubing and packer shall be tested at no less than 500 psig.

  (2) Subsequent tests. Each gas storage well shall be pressure tested in the manner provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection at least once every five years to determine if there are leaks in the casing, tubing, or packer. The commission, or its designee, may prescribe a schedule and mail notification to operators to allow for orderly and timely compliance with this requirement.

  (3) Alternatives to testing. As an alternative to the testing required in paragraph (2) of this subsection, the tubing-casing annulus pressure may be monitored and monitoring results described in the annual monitoring report required by subsection (n) of this section, provided that there is no indication of problems with the well. The commission, or its designee, may also grant an exception for other viable alternative tests or surveys.

  (4) District office notification. The operator shall notify the appropriate district office at least 48 hours prior to conducting the test required in paragraphs (1) or (2) of this subsection. Testing shall not commence before the end of the 48-hour period unless authorized by the district office.

  (5) Test records. A complete record of all tests shall be filed in duplicate with the district office within 30 days after the testing.

  (6) Gas withdrawal wells exempt. Gas storage wells that shall be used only for gas withdrawal are excluded from the requirements of this subsection.

(p) Plugging. Gas storage wells shall be plugged upon abandonment in accordance with §3.14 of this title (relating to Plugging).

(q) Penalties.

  (1) General. Violations of this section may subject the operator to penalties and remedies specified in the Texas Natural Resources Code, Title 3; Texas Civil Statutes, Article 6053-3; and other statutes administered by the commission.

  (2) Certificate of compliance. The certificate of compliance for any oil, gas, or geothermal resource well may be revoked in the manner provided in §3.73 of this title (relating to Pipeline Connection; Cancellation of Certificate of Compliance; Severance) for violation of this section.

(r) Applicability of other commission rules.

  (1) General. The operator of a gas storage project must comply with the requirements of Chapters 7 and 8 of this title (relating to Gas Services Division, and Pipeline Safety Regulations) for both pipelines and associated facilities, and other applicable commission rules and orders.

  (2) Signs. Each location at which gas storage activities take place, including each gas storage well, shall be identified by a sign that meets the requirements specified in §3.3(a)(1), (2), and (5) of this title (relating to Identification of Properties, Wells, and Tanks). In addition, each sign shall include a telephone number where the operator, or a representative of the operator, can be reached in the event of an emergency.

Source Note: The provisions of this §3.96 adopted to be effective January 1, 1994, 18 TexReg 8871; amended to be effective July 10, 2000, 25 TexReg 6487; amended to be effective September 1, 2004, 29 TexReg 8271; amended to be effective July 2, 2012, 37 TexReg 4892

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