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Drilling Pre-Application (NV Only) (5-FD-b)

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the State of Nevada, Division of Minerals in 2006. The purpose of the MOU is to "provide coordination for oil and gas and geothermal...operations and inspections, by eliminating duplication of effort and maximizing human and fiscal resources."

BLM specialists will meet with the developer, and if the site is on USFS lands, with the FS specialists, to discuss the likely level of NEPA review, relevant environmental issues, and identify information needed for environmental analysis for projects. Two weeks prior to the scheduled Pre-Planning Meetings, offices will require proponents to submit the following information:

  • Topographic maps at the appropriate scale outlining the lease area and proposed project area (if different);
  • A topographic map at 1:24,000 scale for Native American Consultation Letters;
  • Shape files and metadata associated with map data;
  • A general description of the types of activities being proposed; and
  • The proposed timeline for these projects (particularly for Department of Energy funded projects with deadlines).
The BLM Project Lead will review and coordinate with the Field Office (FO)/District Office (DO) geothermal team, and if the site is on FS lands, with the appropriate FS office staff, to further review and bring forth resource conflicts and constraints prior to the meeting and determine what archeological inventories and environmental surveys are required for the proposed project. The developer, consultant, contractors, and BLM should attend the Pre-planning Meeting and other Federal, state and local agencies are encouraged to attend.

Drilling Pre-Application (NV Only) Process

5-FD-b.1 - Pre-Application Materials

Pre-Application materials include a general description, map, and timeline of the proposed project. An Operations Plan describes access to the well location(s), size of the drilling pad(s), environmental mitigation measures, etc. The operator has two options for submitting the Operations Plan. The operator may submit the Operations Plan:

  1. As part of the GDP application (see below).
  2. By itself, prior to their GDP application, by using a Sundry Notice ( NEPA analysis and approval required before starting surface operations (see 43 CFR 3261 - Drilling Operations: Getting a Permit)). This will allow the operator to begin the NEPA approval process earlier and begin surface preparations while the rest of the GDP application is being prepared.

A Geothermal Drilling Permit (GDP) ( Geothermal Drilling Permit (Form 3260-002)) is necessary when a geothermal developer submits an application that involves drilling into, testing or developing production, observation, and injection wells. The GDP application requires a drilling plan that describes how drilling and testing will be conducted, including expected lithology, temperatures, pressures, mud and pressure control program, etc. A GDP is required for each individual well, however multiple GDPs can be submitted as a master development plan and approved under one NEPA document.

5-FD-b.2 - Review Pre-Application Materials for Completeness

BLM will review the pre-application materials and notify the applicant whether or not it is complete. It will also be reviewed to ensure compliance with the requirements of 43 CFR 3200.4(b) If another federal agency manages the surface of the lease, BLM will consult with the agency before approval of a drilling permit.

BLM will review the GDP and drilling program or the Sundry Notice for well pad construction, to ensure they conform to the Operations Plan and any mitigation measures developed during the review process. BLM will check the drilling permit and drilling program for technical adequacy and may require additional information. If further information is required to complete the review, BLM will contact the developer in writing and suspend review until the necessary information is received.

5-FD-b.3 - Notify Applicant of Completeness

BLM will notify the developer of determination that application is complete within 14 days of receipt of such application. The developer will also be told of any conditions necessary for approval.

5-FD-b.4 - Is the Application Complete?

If the pre-application is not complete, the developer will have the opportunity to correct any deficiencies and/or provide any necessary additional information.

5-FD-b.5 - Review Pre-Application Material

Surface Management Agency Review

After BLM has determined that the application is complete, the Surface Management Agency (e.g. USFS) will review the pre-application material and make recommendations for resource and environmental protection and mitigation.

5-FD-b.6 - Pre-Application Coordination Meeting

The information provided during this meeting should provide the basis for initiating the Native American consultation process, archaeological clearances, and necessary environmental surveys, so the GDPs, when they are submitted, may be processed within the provided time frame guidelines.

5-FD-b.7 - Conduct On-Site Evaluation

The onsite inspection will be conducted with the operator to further identify site-specific resource protection concerns and requirements. Prior to, or in conjunction with, the onsite inspection, the surface management agency will advise the operator if any special inventories or studies are required, such as for cultural resources or threatened and endangered species.

On-Site Evaluation Process: 10

5-FD-b.8 - Drilling Permit Application

At the completion of the pre-application process, the geothermal developer must submit the completed application to the appropriate BLM field office.

Drilling Application Process:

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