The Department of Conservation has fined 30 oil and gas operators $4,500 each for failure to report how much water they’re using to extract oil and gas.
A law passed last year requires oil and gas operators to report 250 pieces of data related to how they’re using that water, including where it comes from and how it’s treated.
“It’s a very simple statement to say we want to know where the water came from and where it went," says Steve Bohlen with the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. "It turns out that in a complicated oil field environment actually doing that involves billions of pieces of data. So the task was unexpectedly large and we’re making good progress.”
He says the fine isn’t small for the operators.
“It does happen to turn out in this case that the operators involved are quite small so this will be a significant attention-getter for them,” says Bohlen.
Regulators say of the more than 400 operators required to report under the law, only 242 initially complied. The state has fined those operators who made no effort.
State regulators say additional fines for other reporting failures will come soon.