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Oregon State Exploration (4-OR-a)

State Exploration Process

4-OR-a.1 - Has an Environmental Process Been Completed for Exploration?

If the developer has not yet completed an environmental review process for exploration activities, Developer must do so before proceeding.

4-OR-a.2 - Environmental Review Process

Environmental Overview: 9

4-OR-a.3 - Is the Project Located on State Land?

No person shall explore by any means whatever on, in, or under land owned by the State of Oregon and under the jurisdiction of the Division of State Lands to detect or assess geothermal resources without a permit or lease issued pursuant to these regulations and under authority of ORS 273.551. (OAR 141-075-0130)

4-OR-a.4 - Will the Project Disturb More than One Acre or Drill Deeper than 50 ft?

Any person engaging in onshore exploration that disturbs more than one surface acre or involves drilling to greater than 50 feet shall obtain an exploration permit. (ORS 517.705(1))

4-OR-a.5 - No Permit Needed; Continue with Project

If the project is not on state land and will not disturb more than one surface acre or driller deeper than 50 feet, no exploration permit is required. Although, other permits/leases may still be required.

4-OR-a.6 - Application for Geothermal Exploration Permit, Evidence of Insurance, Bond, and Plan

Information Required with Application

(1) Prior to receiving an exploration permit, an applicant shall submit a permit application on a form provided by the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. Information required shall include the information necessary to assess impacts of the proposed exploration, including but not limited to:

(a)The name and address of the surface owner and mineral owner.

(b)The names and addresses of the persons conducting the exploration.

(c)The name and address of any designated agent.

(d)A brief description of the exploration activities, including but not limited to:

  • (A)The amount of road to be constructed;
  • (B)The number, depth and location of proposed drill holes;
  • (C)The number, depth and location of proposed monitoring wells; and
  • (D)The number, length, width and depth of exploration trenches.

(e)Provisions for the reclamation of surface disturbance caused by exploration activities.

(f)Exploration drill hole or monitoring well abandonment procedures, including but not limited to:

  • (A)The capping of all holes;
  • (B)The plugging of any hole producing surface flow; and
  • (C)Appropriate sealing for any holes which have encountered aquifers.

(g)A map with the location of the proposed exploration and delineation of exploration boundaries.

(2)Any production records, mineral assessments or trade secrets submitted as part of the application under subsection (1) of this section shall be confidential.

(See ORS 517.705)

Exhibits to Be Submitted with Application

The applicant shall submit, as exhibits to the application form:

(1) Evidence of insurance as follows:

  • (a) Public liability and property damage in amounts according to the number of acres covered by the application. For areas less than or exactly 640 acres -- $20,000, $40,000, $20,000, and for areas greater than 640 acres -- $50,000, $100,000, $50,000; and
  • (b) Contractual liability covering the permittee's duty of indemnification of the state -- $200,000.

(2) A corporate surety bond of not less than $1,000 conditioned upon compliance with all the terms of the exploration permit.

(3) A description of the applicant's exploration plan including, but not limited to, exploration methods, dates of exploration, types of equipment to be used, and crew size.

(See OAR 141-075-0155)

4-OR-a.7 - Send Copies of Application to Required Parties; Request Responses

(1) Upon receipt of an exploration permit application, the Division shall cause copies of the application to be sent to the surface rights holder and affected state agencies, including the Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI), State Engineer, Public Utility Commissioner, State Wildlife Commission, Fish Commission of Oregon, Nuclear and Thermal Energy Council, and Land Conservation and Development Commission and to such other agencies or persons as the Division deems appropriate.

(2) Each agency shall be requested to respond within 30 days by making a recommendation as to whether the permit should be granted.

(See OAR 141-075-0165)

4-OR-a.8 - Recommend Whether Permit Should Be Granted and/or Any Conditions on the Permit

Agencies may recommend conditions to be contained in the exploration permit to satisfy requirements within their respective statutory jurisdictions.

4-OR-a.9 - Consider Any Agency Recommended Conditions; Inform Applicant of Conditions

Applicants will be advised of conditions recommended by state agencies.

4-OR-a.10 - Conference with Agencies and Applicant (if Needed)

Where advisable, a conference between agencies and applicants will be held.

4-OR-a.11 - Conduct Any Necessary Investigation

The Division will make any investigation it considers necessary.

4-OR-a.12 - Did the DSL/DOGAMI Approve the Application per OAR 141-075-0165?

See OAR 141-075-0165 for application approval process.

4-OR-a.13 - Geothermal Exploration Permit

Except for additions and modifications required to protect natural resources and environmental quality, the Division of State Lands Geothermal Exploration Permit form as adopted June 1, 1975, will be issued upon approval of an exploration permit application. (OAR 141-075-0170)

4-OR-a.14 - Investigate Exploration Operations as Necessary

The Division may conduct scheduled and unscheduled inspections of operations conducted under exploration permits. Upon receipt of a complaint concerning operations covered by an exploration permit, the Division or any governmental employee appointed to the task may make an investigation and collect facts and opinions. (OAR 141-075-0190)

4-OR-a.15 - Will Developer Drill a Test Well that Will Be Considered a Geothermal Prospect Well?

No person shall engage in drilling a prospect well without first obtaining a permit issued under the authority of the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries and without complying with the conditions of such permit. (ORS 522.055)

4-OR-a.16 - Initiate Geothermal Prospect Well Process

Geothermal Prospect Well Process:

4-OR-a.17 - Will Developer Temporarily Inject or Reinject Geothermal Fluids During Exploration?

Geothermal exploration operations requiring an exploration injection permit: temporarily injecting or reinjecting geothermal fluids produced during short-term geothermal exploration well testing into the same or comparable geothermal reservoir.

4-OR-a.18 - Exploration Injection Permit

Exploration Injection Permit:

4-OR-a.19 - Continue with Project

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Contact Information


Edit Oregon Department of State Lands
Geothermal Leasing and Exploration Contact 541.388.6112 shawnabbazabbazumwalt@dslabbazabbastateabbazabbaorabbazabbaus Visit Website