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The production and operation phase is by far the longest in a well’s life cycle, lasting 30 to 40 years or more. During this phase the well produces oil and/or gas. The intense daily activity surrounding the drilling and well-completion phases subsides during the production and operation phase, but there are still ongoing activities at the well site. This map captures continuing inspection requirements and the authority and rights given to the state’s governing agency to inspect sites, enter a site, and access well records. Reporting requirements for spills and accidents are also crucial regulations in effect during this phase. The type of notification, the timeframe for reporting a spill, and whether the state requires that notification be given to the surface owner after a spill are crucial oversight regulations. Regulations on the collection, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of non-oil and gas products produced during this phase, such as exploration and production waste as well as produced water, are also compared across jurisdictions.

This dataset includes laws for 17 states and federal rules for lands and minerals managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the U.S. Forest Service, current as of November 25, 2015. To explore the variation in these laws, use the blue “Start Here” box below. For a summary of all of the law compiled for a specific jurisdiction, click on the corresponding part of the map. 

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If you have questions, corrections, or additions, please contact Matt Samelson at

Related Resources

LawAtlas Interactive Maps: 
Air Quality:  Air Quality Laws Pertaining to Oil and Gas Development
Water Quality:  Permitting, Design, and Construction
Water Quality:  Well Drilling
Water Quality:  Well Completion
Water Quality:  Production and Operation
Water Quality:  Reclamation
Water Quantity:  Quantity

Did you know?

Inspectors in 14 of the 18 jurisdictions examined here have the right to be on properties near wells for inspections.

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Map Legend: State Included in research. Not included in research.