2018 OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MONTANA PETROLEUM ASSOCIATION
OIL AND GAS 101 CONTINUEd
Montana’s Water Quality Act aims to “conserve water by protecting,
maintaining, and improving the quality of water” throughout the state
and to “provide a comprehensive program for the prevention, abatement,
and control of water pollution.” The MDEQ administers the Act
with the assistance of the Water Pollution Control Advisory Council.
ARM 36.22.1226 – Disposal of Water – provides for the disposal
of water produced from oil and gas operations in a manner that does
not degrade surface waters or groundwater or cause harm to soils.
The MBOGC has primacy, including permitting authority, over underground
injection (Class II) wells on fee, state, and federal lands.
On Tribal lands, Class II wells are regulated by the EPA. Injection
wells are used to inject fluids associated with oil and gas production
(i.e. salt water).
Earthen pits and ponds used during production are regulated under
ARM 36.22.1227 to prevent degradation of water or harm to soils.
The Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology conducts statewide
monitoring of water quality and quantity. Information on monitoring
wells is made available to the public online through the Groundwater
Oil and Gas taxes also contribute to a statewide groundwater monitoring
program, as well as the Treasure State Endowment Regional
Water Program to finance regional drinking water systems that supply
water to rural users.
Hydraulic fracturing is a 60+ year old stimulation technique used to
extract oil and natural gas from tight formations. After a well is drilled,
a pressurized mix of water, sand, and chemical additives is used to free
up oil and natural gas that would otherwise be trapped in hydrocarbon
Engineers use computer models to custom-design each individual
fracture treatment, taking into account the physical and chemical
properties of the rock, the fluids contained within that rock, and the
mechanical condition of the well.
Coupled with horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing has been a
game changer in energy production, making the U.S. a leading producer,
and ending the conversation on peak oil.
Did you know? Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have
reduced surface impact of oil and gas operations by maximizing extraction.
Multiple wells can now be placed within the same consolidated
REAL Montana participants get up-close look at frac fluid on site
with Oasis Petroleum
In 2011, the BOGC imposed the state’s original frac disclosure
rules, as well as regulation which requires operators to test wellbore
construction to prove safe handling of fracture stimulation. (ARM
In 2017, the Montana Petroleum Association supported Senate Bill
299, sponsored by former Administrator for the MBOGC, Tom Richmond.
SB 299 was passed and signed into law and strengthened the
disclosure requirements of chemical additives used in fracturing fluid
to the public and the MBOGC.
After fracture stimulation, frac fluid is collected at the surface as
“flowback” water, then treated off location or placed in a regulated
injection well (ARM 36.22.1403, 36.22.1402). Any residual fluid remains
trapped thousands of feet below surface.
An overwhelming majority of Montana’s oil and gas wells would not
be economically viable to drill without hydraulic fracturing, resulting
in a loss of at least $4 billion worth of oil and $350 million of state revenues.
Along with improved drilling technology, hydraulic fracturing
has doubled Montana’s oil and gas production.