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

Published: 2015

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    (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
  (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
  (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