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New Mexico Well Abandonment (20-NM-a)

The Oil Conservation Division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (“Division”) oversees the well abandonment process in New Mexico. The requirements for well plugging and abandonment are outlined in NMAC

Well Abandonment Process

20-NM-a.1 – Notice of Intent to Plug

The developer is required to file a Notice of Intent to Plug Form G-103 with the Division before starting plugging and abandonment procedures. The notice must outline the casing and cementing program of the well, the casing which is to be pulled, the size of the proposed cement plugs and their depth, and any other necessary information.

20-NM-a.2 – Is the Plugging Program Approved?

The Division’s approval of a plugging program is contingent on evidence that the program will prevent damage to any producing zone, migration of fluids from one zone to another, the waste or contamination of useable undergroundwaters or other natural resources, and the leakage of any substance at the surface. The Division will notify the developer within 30 days of filing that the plugging program is approved or disapproved. If the plugging program is not approved, then the developer may amend the program and re-file the notice of intent Form G-103.

20-NM-a.3 – Conduct Plugging and Abandonment Procedures

Before the developer abandons a well it must be plugged in a manner that will permanently confine all fluids in the separate strata originally containing them. The Division requires the use of mud-laden fluid, cement and plugs, used singly or in combination with prior approval from the Division. NMAC

The developer is required to show the exact location of the abandoned well by a steel marker at least four inches in diameter set in concrete and extending at least four feet above mean ground level. NMAC

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