Utah Administrative Code

The Utah Administrative Code is the body of all effective administrative rules as compiled and organized by the Division of Administrative Rules (see Subsection 63G-3-102(5); see also Sections 63G-3-701 and 702).

NOTE: For a list of rules that have been made effective since January 1, 2020, please see the codification segue page.

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R649. Natural Resources; Oil, Gas and Mining; Oil and Gas.

Rule R649-1. Oil and Gas Definitions.

As in effect on January 1, 2020

Table of Contents

R649-1-1. Definitions.

"Authorized Agent" means a representative of the director as authorized by the board.

"Aquifer" means a geological formation including a group of formations or part of a formation that is capable of yielding a significant amount of water to a well or spring.

"Artificial Liner" means a pit liner made of material other than clay or other in-situ material and which meets the requirements of R649-9-3, Permitting of Disposal Pits.

"Barrel" means 42 (US) gallons at 60 degrees Fahrenheit at atmospheric pressure.

"Board" means the Board of Oil, Gas and Mining.

"Carrier, Transporter or Taker" means any person moving or transporting oil or gas away from a well or lease or from any pool.

"Casing Pressure" means the pressure within the casing or between the casing and tubing at the wellhead.

"Central Disposal Facility" means a facility that is used by one or more producers for disposal of exempt E and P wastes and for which the operator of the facility receives no monetary remuneration, other than operating cost sharing.

"Class II Injection Well" means a well that is used for:

1. The disposal of fluids that are brought to the surface in connection with conventional oil or natural gas production and that may be commingled with wastewater produced from the operation of a gas plant that is an integral part of production operations, unless that wastewater is classified as a hazardous waste at the time of injection, or

2. Enhanced recovery of oil or gas, or

3. Storage of hydrocarbons that are liquids at standard temperature and pressure conditions.

"Closed System" means but is not limited to, the use of a combination of solids control equipment (i.e., shale shakers, flowline cleaners, desanders, desilters, mud cleaners, centrifuges, agitators, and necessary pumps and piping) incorporated in a series on the rig's steel mud tanks, or a self contained unit that eliminates the use of a reserve pit for the purpose of dumping and dilution of drilling fluids for the removal of entrained drill solids. A closed system for the purpose of these rules may with Division approval include the use of a small pit to receive cuttings, but does not include the use of trenches for the collection of fluids of any kind.

"Coalbed Methane" means natural gas that is produced, or may be produced, from coalbeds and rock strata associated with the coalbed.

"Commercial Disposal Facility" means a disposal well, pit or treatment facility whose owner(s) or operator(s) receives compensation from others for the temporary storage, treatment, and disposal of produced water, drilling fluids, drill cuttings, completion fluids, and any other exempt E and P wastes, and whose primary business objective is to provide these services.

"Completion of a Well" means that the well has been adequately worked to be capable of producing oil or gas or that well testing as required by the division has been concluded.

"Confining Strata" refers to a body of material that is relatively impervious to the passage of liquids or gases and that occurs either below, above, or lateral to a more permeable material in such a way that it confines or limits the movement of liquids or gases that may be present.

"Correlative Rights" means the opportunity of each owner in a pool to produce his just and equitable share of the oil and gas in the pool without waste.

"Cubic Foot" of gas means the volume of gas contained in one cubic foot of space at a standard pressure base of 14.73 psia and a standard temperature base of 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

"Day" means a period of 24 consecutive hours.

"Development Wells" means all oil and gas producing wells other than wildcat wells.

"Director" means the executive and administrative head of the division.

"Disposal Facility" means an injection well, pit, treatment facility or combination thereof that receives E and P Wastes for the purpose of disposal. This includes both commercial and noncommercial facilities.

"Disposal Pit" means a lined or unlined pit approved for the disposal and/or storage of E and P Wastes.

"Division" means the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining.

"Drilling Fluid" means a circulating fluid usually called mud, that is introduced in a drill hole to lubricate the action of the rotary bit, remove the drilling cuttings, and control formation pressures.

"E and P Waste" means Exploration and Production Waste, and is defined as those wastes resulting from the drilling of and production from oil and gas wells as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), prior to January 1, 1992, to be exempt from Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

"Emergency Pit" means a pit used for containing fluids at an operating well during an actual emergency or for a temporary period of time.

"Enhanced Recovery" means the process of introducing fluid or energy into a pool for the purpose of increasing the recovery of hydrocarbons from the pool.

"Enhanced Recovery Project" means the injection of liquids or hydrocarbon or non-hydrocarbon gases directly into a reservoir for the purpose of augmenting reservoir energy, modifying the properties of the fluids or gases in the reservoir, or changing the reservoir conditions to increase the recoverable oil, gas, or oil and gas through the joint use of two or more well bores.

"Entity" means a well or a group of wells that have identical division of interest, have the same operator, produce from the same formation, have product sales from a common tank, LACT meter, gas meter, or are in the same participating area of a properly designated unit. Entity number assignments are made by the division in cooperation with other state government agencies.

"Field" means the general area underlaid by one or more pools.

"Gas" means natural gas or natural gas liquids or other gas or any mixture thereof defined as follows:

1. "Natural Gas" means those hydrocarbons, other than oil and other than natural gas liquids separated from natural gas, that occur naturally in the gaseous phase in the reservoir and are produced and recovered at the wellhead in gaseous form. Natural gas includes coalbed methane.

2. "Natural Gas Liquids" means those hydrocarbons initially in reservoir natural gas, regardless of gravity, that are separated in gas processing plants from the natural gas as liquids at the surface through the process of condensation, absorption, adsorption, or other methods.

3. "Other Gas" means hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbon dioxide (CO2), helium (He), nitrogen (N), and other nonhydrocarbon gases that occur naturally in the gaseous phase in the reservoir or are injected into the reservoir in connection with pressure maintenance, gas cycling, or other secondary or enhanced recovery projects.

"Gas-Oil Ratio" means the ratio of the number of cubic feet of natural gas produced to the number of barrels of oil concurrently produced during any stated period. The term GOR is synonymous with gas-oil ratio.

"Gas Processing Plant" means a facility in which liquefiable hydrocarbons are removed from natural gas, including wet gas or casinghead gas, and the remaining residue gas is conditioned for delivery for sale, recycling or other use.

"Gas Well" means any well capable of producing gas in substantial quantities that is not an oil well.

"Ground Water" means water in a zone of saturation below the ground surface.

"Hearing" means any matter heard before the board or its designated hearing examiner.

"Horizontal Well" means a well bore drilled laterally at an angle of at least eighty (80) degrees to the vertical or with a horizontal projection exceeding one hundred (100) feet measured from the initial point of penetration into the productive formation through the terminus of the lateral in the same common source of supply.

"Illegal Oil or Illegal Gas" means oil or gas that has been produced from any well within the state in violation of Chapter 6 of Title 40, or any rule or order of the board.

"Illegal Product" means any product derived in whole or in part from illegal oil or illegal gas.

"Incremental Production" means that part of production that is achieved from an enhanced recovery project that would not have economically occurred under the reservoir conditions existing before the project and that has been approved by the division as incremental production.

"Injection or Disposal Well" means any Class II Injection Well used for the injection of air, gas, water or other substance into any underground stratum.

"Interest Owner" means a person owning an interest (working interest, royalty interest, payment out of production, or any other interest) in oil or gas, or in the proceeds thereof.

"Load Oil" means any oil or liquid hydrocarbon that is used in any remedial operation in an oil or gas well.

"Log or Well Log" means the written record progressively describing the strata, water, oil or gas encountered in drilling a well with such additional information as is usually recorded in the normal procedure of drilling including electrical, radioactivity, or other similar conventional logs, a lithologic description of samples and drill stem test information.

"Multiple Zone Completion" means a well completion in which two or more separate zones, mechanically segregated one from the other, are produced simultaneously from the same well.

"Oil" means crude oil or condensate or any mixture thereof, defined as follows:

1. "Crude Oil" means those hydrocarbons, regardless of gravity, that occur naturally in the liquid phase in the reservoir and are produced and recovered at the wellhead in liquid form.

2. "Condensate" means those hydrocarbons, regardless of gravity, that occur naturally in the gaseous phase in the reservoir that are separated from the natural gas as liquids through the process of condensation either in the reservoir, in the well bore or at the surface in field separators.

3. "Oil and Gas" shall not include gaseous or liquid substances derived from coal, oil shale, tar sands or other hydrocarbons classified as synthetic fuel.

"Oil and Gas Field" means a geographical area overlying an oil and gas pool.

"Oil Well" means any well capable of producing oil in substantial quantities.

"Operator or Designated Agent" means the person who has been designated by the owners or the board to operate a well or unit.

"Owner" means the person who has the right to drill into and produce from a reservoir and to appropriate the oil and gas that he produces, either for himself or for himself and others.

"Person" means and includes any natural person, bodies politic and corporate, partnerships, associations and companies.

"Pit" means an earthen surface impoundment constructed to retain fluids and oil field wastes.

"Pollution" means such contamination or other alteration of the physical, chemical or biological properties of any waters of the state, or the discharge of any liquid, gaseous or solid substance into any waters of the state in such manner as will create a nuisance or render such waters harmful, detrimental or injurious to the public health, safety or welfare; to domestic, commercial, industrial, agricultural, recreational, or other legitimate beneficial uses; or to livestock, wild animals, birds, fish or other aquatic life.

"Pool" means an underground reservoir containing a common accumulation of oil or gas or both. Each zone of a general structure that is completely separated from any other zone in the structure is a separate pool. "Common source of supply" and "reservoir" are synonymous with "pool."

"Pressure Maintenance" means the injection of gas, water or other fluids into a reservoir, either to increase or maintain the existing pressure in such reservoir or to retard the natural decline in the reservoir pressure.

"Produced Water" means water produced in conjunction with the conventional production of oil and/or gas.

"Producer" means the owner or operator of a well capable of producing oil or gas.

"Producing Well" means a well capable of producing oil or gas.

"Product" means any commodity made from oil and gas.

"Production Facilities" means all storage, separation, treating, dehydration, artificial lift, power supply, compression, pumping, metering, monitoring, flowline, and other equipment directly associated with oil wells, gas wells or injection wells, prior to any processing plant or refinery.

"Purchaser or Transporter" means any person who, acting alone or jointly with any other person, by means of his own, an affiliated, or designated carrier, transporter or taker, shall directly or indirectly purchase, take or transport by any means whatsoever, or who shall otherwise remove from any well or lease, oil or gas produced from any pool, excepting royalty portions of oil or gas taken in kind by an interest owner who is not the operator.

"Recompletion" means any completion in a new perforated interval or pool within an established wellbore and approved as a recompletion by the division.

"Refinery" means a facility, other than a gas processing plant, where controlled operations are performed by which the physical and chemical characteristics of petroleum or petroleum products are changed.

"Reserve Pit" means a pit used to retain fluid during the drilling, completion, and testing of a well.

"Seismic Operator" means a person who conducts seismic exploration for oil or gas, whether for himself or as a contractor for others.

"Shut-in Well" means a well that is completed, is shown to be capable of production in paying quantities, and is not presently being operated.

"Spud In" means the first boring of a hole in the drilling of a well by any type of rig.

"State" means the State of Utah.

"Stratigraphic Test or Core Hole" means any hole drilled for the sole purpose of obtaining geological information. The general rules applicable to the drilling of a well will apply to the drilling of a stratigraphic test or core hole.

"Temporarily Abandoned Well" means a well that is completed, is shown not capable of production in paying quantities, and is not presently being operated.

"Temporary Spacing Unit" means a specified area of land designated by the board for purposes of determining well density and location. A temporary spacing unit shall not be a drilling unit as provided for in U.C.A. 40-6-6, Drilling Units, and does not provide a basis for pooling the interest therein as does a drilling unit.

"Underground Source of Drinking Water" (or USDW) means a fresh water aquifer or a portion thereof that supplies drinking water for human consumption or that contains less than 10,000 mg/1 total dissolved solids and that is not an exempted aquifer under R649-5-4.

"Waste" means:

1. The inefficient, excessive or improper use or the unnecessary dissipation of oil or gas or reservoir energy.

2. The inefficient storing of oil or gas.

3. The locating, drilling, equipping, operating, or producing of any oil or gas well in a manner that causes reduction in the quantity of oil or gas ultimately recoverable from a reservoir under prudent and economical operations, or that causes unnecessary wells to be drilled, or that causes the loss or destruction of oil or gas either at the surface or subsurface.

4. The production of oil or gas in excess of:

4.1. Transportation or storage facilities.

4.2. The amount reasonably required to be produced in the proper drilling, completing, testing, or operating of a well or otherwise utilized on the lease from which it is produced.

5. Underground or above ground waste in the production or storage of oil or gas.

"Waste Crude Oil Treatment Facility" means any facility or site constructed or used for the purpose of wholly or partially reclaiming, treating, processing, cleaning, purifying or in any manner making non-merchantable waste crude oil marketable.

"Well" means an oil or gas well, injection or disposal well, or a hole drilled for the purpose of producing oil or gas or both. The definition of well shall not include water wells, or seismic, stratigraphic test, core hole, or other exploratory holes drilled for the purpose of obtaining geological information only.

"Well Site" means the areas that are directly disturbed during the drilling and subsequent use of, or affected by production facilities directly associated with any oil well, gas well or injection well.

"Wildcat Wells" means oil and gas producing wells that are drilled and completed in a pool in which a well has not been previously completed as a well capable of producing in commercial quantities.

"Working Interest Owner" means the owner of an interest in oil or gas burdened with a share of the expenses of developing and operating the property.

"Workover" means any operation designed to sustain, to restore, or to increase the production rate, the ultimate recovery, or the reservoir pressure system of a well or group of wells and approved as a workover, a secondary recovery, a tertiary recovery, or a pressure maintenance project by the division. The definition shall not include operations that are conducted principally as routine maintenance or the replacement of worn or damaged equipment.


oil and gas law

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment

June 2, 1998

Notice of Continuation

August 26, 2016

Authorizing, Implemented, or Interpreted Law

40-6-1 et seq.

Additional Information


For questions regarding the content or application of rules under Title R649, please contact the promulgating agency (Natural Resources; Oil, Gas and Mining; Oil and Gas). A list of agencies with links to their homepages is available at http://www.utah.gov/government/agencylist.html or from http://www.rules.utah.gov/contact/agencycontacts.htm.