Standards and Regulations
Stringent standards and operating procedures for natural gas drilling protect citizens and the environment. They are enforced by the drilling companies and the government through strict regulations and oversight.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) is a trade association representing 400 member companies across the oil and natural gas industry. For more than 85 years, API, in conjunction with its member companies, has developed and refined engineering standards and practices for all aspects of oil and natural gas production. Many of these standards have been adopted as references for industry performance, and incorporated into state and federal regulations. These standards, considered industry practice, cover all aspects of Marcellus Shale production, including site preparation, drilling, well construction, well integrity, water use management and surface environmental considerations.
Companies producing natural gas from the shale formations adhere to these strict standards when planning for and operating their wells. Many of these companies are also the ones who developed the standards, and have been using them in production for years, if not decades. Since hydraulic fracturing began in the 1940's, more than 1 million wells have been drilled using this technology. The companies that continue to follow these strict standards and regulations will protect the safety and health of all citizens and the environment. API and its member companies also continually monitor and update these standards to ensure operational safety and efficiency.
Comprehensive federal and state regulations already exist to cover all aspects of the process, including well permitting, well materials and construction, air emissions, wildlife protection, safe disposition of used hydraulic fracturing fluids, water testing, chemical recordkeeping and reporting.
Regulation, oversight and permitting for hydraulic fracturing in Michigan are governed federally by the Environmental Protection Agency and locally by the Michigan Department on Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The statue governing all permitting, drilling, completing and records reporting is the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act of 1994.
In May of 2011, MDEQ announced new hydraulic fracturing regulations for the state. The new system of regulations increased and modernized the oversight, reporting and recordkeeping requirements for all hydraulically fractured wells in Michigan.
- API Standards
- API HF1, Hydraulic Fracturing Operations—Well Construction and Integrity Guidelines
- API HF2, Water Management Associated with Hydraulic Fracturing
- API HF3, Practices for Mitigating Surface Impacts Associated with Hydraulic Fracturing
- RP 51R, Environmental Protection for Onshore Oil and Gas Production Operations and Leases