Petitions for Modification of Application of Existing Mandatory Safety Standards, 47422-47437 [2016-17173]

Download as PDF asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 47422 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 140 / Thursday, July 21, 2016 / Notices Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1002(a) (Installation of electric equipment and conductors; permissibility). Modification Request: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit the use of lowvoltage or battery-powered nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment within 150 feet of pillar workings or longwall faces. The petitioner states that: (1) The use of nonpermissible lowvoltage or battery-powered electronic testing and diagnostic equipment will be limited to: Laptop computers; oscilloscopes; vibration analysis machines; cable fault detectors; point temperature probes; infrared temperature devices; insulation testers (meggers); voltage, current and power measurement devices and recorders; pressure and flow measurement devices; signal analyzer devices; ultrasonic thickness gauges; electronic components testers; and electronic tachometers. Other testing and diagnostic equipment may be used if approved in advance by MSHA’s District Manager. (2) Nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment will be used only when equivalent permissible equipment does not exist. (3) All other testing and diagnostic equipment used within 150 feet of pillar workings or longwall faces will be permissible. (4) All nonpermissible low-voltage or battery-powered nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment used within 150 feet of pillar workings will be examined by a qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.153 prior to use to ensure the equipment is being maintained in a safe operating condition. These examination results will be recorded in the weekly examination electrical equipment book and made available to MSHA on request. (5) A qualified person as defined in 30 CFR 75.151 will continuously monitor for methane immediately before and during the use of nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment within 150 feet of pillar workings. (6) Nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment will not be used if methane is detected in concentrations at or above one percent. When 1.0 percent or more of methane is detected while the nonpermissible electronic equipment is being used, the equipment will be deenergized immediately and the nonpermissible electronic equipment will be withdrawn to outby 150 feet from pillar workings. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jul 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 (7) All hand-held methane detectors will be MSHA-approved and maintained in permissible and proper operating condition as required by 30 CFR 75.320. (8) Except for time necessary to troubleshoot under actual mining conditions, coal production on the section will cease. However, coal may remain in the panline to test and diagnose the equipment under load. (9) Nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment will not be used to test equipment when float coal dust is in suspension. (10) All electronic testing and diagnostic equipment will be used in accordance with the safe use procedures recommended by the manufacturer. (11) Qualified personnel who use electronic testing and diagnostic equipment will be properly trained to recognize the hazards and limitations associated with use of the equipment. (12) The nonpermissible low-voltage or battery-powered nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment will not be put into service until MSHA has inspected the equipment and determined that it is in compliance with all the terms and conditions in this petition. The petitioner will notify MSHA before additional nonpermissible electronic testing and diagnostic equipment is put into service within 150 feet of pillar workings to provide time for MSHA to inspect the equipment before initial use. (13) Cables supplying power to lowvoltage testing and diagnostic equipment will be continuous in length or provided with ‘‘twist lock’’ connectors when used with 150 feet of pillar workings. The petitioner asserts that application of the existing standard will result in a diminution of safety to the miners and that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection afforded by the existing standard. Sheila McConnell, Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances. [FR Doc. 2016–17174 Filed 7–20–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4520–43–P DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Mine Safety and Health Administration Petitions for Modification of Application of Existing Mandatory Safety Standards Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00079 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Section 101(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 and Title 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 44 govern the application, processing, and disposition of petitions for modification. This notice is a summary of petitions for modification submitted to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) by the parties listed below. DATES: All comments on the petitions must be received by MSHA’s Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances on or before August 22, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit your comments, identified by ‘‘docket number’’ on the subject line, by any of the following methods: 1. Electronic Mail: zzMSHAcomments@dol.gov. Include the docket number of the petition in the subject line of the message. 2. Facsimile: 202–693–9441. 3. Regular Mail or Hand Delivery: MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 201 12th Street South, Suite 4E401, Arlington, Virginia 22202–5452, Attention: Sheila McConnell, Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances. Persons delivering documents are required to check in at the receptionist’s desk in Suite 4E401. Individuals may inspect copies of the petitions and comments during normal business hours at the address listed above. MSHA will consider only comments postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service or proof of delivery from another delivery service such as UPS or Federal Express on or before the deadline for comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barbara Barron, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances at 202–693– 9447 (Voice), barron.barbara@dol.gov (Email), or 202–693–9441 (Facsimile). [These are not toll-free numbers.] SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: I. Background Section 101(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act) allows the mine operator or representative of miners to file a petition to modify the application of any mandatory safety standard to a coal or other mine if the Secretary of Labor determines that: 1. An alternative method of achieving the result of such standard exists which will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners of such mine by such standard; or 2. That the application of such standard to such mine will result in a diminution of safety to the miners in such mine. E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 140 / Thursday, July 21, 2016 / Notices asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES In addition, the regulations at 30 CFR 44.10 and 44.11 establish the requirements and procedures for filing petitions for modification. II. Petitions for Modification Docket Number: M–2016–015–C. Petitioner: Canyon Fuel Company, LLC, HC 35, Box 380, Helper, Utah 84526. Mine: Skyline mine, MSHA I.D. No. 42–01566, located in Carbon County, Utah. Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.380(d)(4) (Escapeways; bituminous and lignite mines). Modification Requested: The petitioner requests a modification of the existing standard to permit an escapeway to be maintained at least 4 feet wide where the route of travel passes by conveyor belt components. The petitioner states that: (1) The standard 6-foot wide walkway specified in 30 CFR 75.380(d)(4) already allows for exceptions to the 6-foot walkway, including where supplemental support is installed and where the escapeways pass through doors. When these two situations arise, the standard 6-foot walkway is reduced to 4 feet. Conveyor belt components such as belt drives, belt storage units and belt transfers may also impinge upon the standard 6-foot walkway. The petitioner proposes to: (a) Demonstrate that four miners carrying a stretcher could quickly traverse an area at the widths proposed in this petition. (b) Identify the portions of the alternate escapeway where this petition is in effect on the mine map required by 30 CFR 75.372. (c) Maintain the full 4-foot width of the escapeway in areas affected by this petition free of accumulations of mud, water, and other hazards at all times. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times provide no less than the same measure of protection afford by the existing standard. Docket Number: M–2016–016–C. Petitioner: Marshall County Coal Company, 1 Bridge Street, Monongah, West Virginia 26554. Mine: Marshall County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46–01437, located in Marshall County, West Virginia. Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1700 (Oil and gas wells). Modification Requested: The petitioner requests that the previously granted petition for modification be amended for the McElroy Coal Company, McElroy Mine, Docket Number M–1988–199–C (now known as the Marshall County Coal Company, VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jul 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 Marshall County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46–01437). The petitioner states that: (1) The large majority of petroleum wells in the Marshall County Coal Company Mine were drilled prior to 1930 when no standards for drilling and plugging existed. Many wells were abandoned during that time. (2) Extensive research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, Energy Research and Development Administration, MSHA and past experience by Consolidation Coal Company has disclosed that certain plugging methods can effectively prevent explosive well gases from entering the mine during regular mining operations and allow additional safety and operational benefits that are not possible under § 75.1700. (3) In lieu of establishing and maintaining barriers around oil and gas wells, the petitioner proposes to seal the Pittsburgh Coal Seam from the surrounding strata at the affected wells by using technology developed through the petitioner’s successful well-plugging program. Since the inception of the well-plugging program, thousands of previously abandoned oil and gas wells have been effectively plugged and successfully been mined through or around. (4) In lieu of the method of plugging oil and gas wells approved in the previously granted petition, the petitioner proposes an alternative method that incorporates proven technological advances not available for plugging oil and gas wells when the previous petition was granted. As an alternative method of compliance with 30 CFR 75.1700, the petitioner proposes to maintain a safety barrier of 300 feet in diameter (150 feet between any mined area and a well) around all oil and gas wells (defined to include all active, inactive, abandoned, shut-in, and previously plugged wells, including water injection wells) until approval to proceed with mining has been obtained from the District Manager (DM). Prior to mining through any oil or gas wells, the petitioner will provide to the DM a declaration stating that all mandatory procedures for cleaning out, preparing, and plugging each gas or oil well have been completed. The declaration will be accompanied by logs described in this petition and any other records that the DM may request. The DM will review the declaration, the logs and any other records that have been requested, and may inspect the well, and determine if the operator has complied with the procedures for cleaning out, preparing and plugging each well. If the DM determines that the PO 00000 Frm 00080 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 47423 procedures have been complied with and provides an approval, the operator may then mine within the safety barrier of the well according to the terms of the Order. a. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures when cleaning out and preparing oil and gas wells prior to plugging or replugging: (1) If the total depth of the well is less than 4,000 feet, the operator will completely clean out the well from the surface to at least 200 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam unless the DM requires cleaning to a greater depth based on what is required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. If the total depth of the well is 4,000 feet or greater, the operator will completely clean out the well from the surface to at least 400 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam. The operator will remove all material from the entire diameter of well, wall to wall. (2) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbonproducing strata and the location for a bridge plug. The DM may approve the use of a down-hole camera survey in lieu of down-hole logs. In addition, the operator will maintain a journal describing: The depth and nature of each material encountered; bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; length and type of each material used to plug the well; the length of casing(s) removed, perforated or ripped, or left in place; any sections where casing was cut or milled; and other pertinent information concerning cleaning and sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request. (3) Remove all of the casing in the well or, if it is not possible to remove all of the casing, fill the annulus between the casings and between the casings and the well walls with expanding cement (minimum 0.5 percent expansion on setting) and ensure that these areas contain no voids. If the casing cannot be removed, the operator will cut or mill it at all mineable coal seam levels and perforate or rip it at least every 50 feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam up to 100 feet above the uppermost mineable coal seam. If the operator can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the DM that all annuli in the well are already adequately sealed with cement E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 47424 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 140 / Thursday, July 21, 2016 / Notices using a casing bond log, then the operator will not be required to perforate or rip the casing for that particular well. When multiple casing and tubing strings are present in the coal horizon(s), the operator will perforate or rip any casing that remains and fill with expanding cement and keep an acceptable casing bond log for each casing and tubing string used in lieu of ripping or perforating multiple strings. (4) Place a mechanical bridge plug in the well if a cleaned-out well emits excessive amounts of gas. Place the mechanical bridge plug in a competent stratum at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam, but above the top of the uppermost hydrocarbon-producing stratum, unless the DM requires a greater distance based on what is required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. (The operator will provide the DM with all information it possesses concerning the geologic nature of the strata and the pressure of the well.) If it is not possible to set a mechanical bridge plug, an appropriately sized packer may be used. (5) Properly place mechanical bridge plugs to isolate the hydrocarbonproducing stratum from the expanding cement plug, if the upper-most hydrocarbon-producing stratum is within 300 feet of the base of the lowest mineable coal seam. Nevertheless, the operator will place a minimum of 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) of expanding cement below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater distance base on what is required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. b. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for plugging or replugging oil or gas wells to the surface: (1) Pump expanding cement slurry down the well to form a plug that runs from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam (or lower if required by the DM due to the geological strata, or due to pressure within the well) to the surface. The operator will place the expanding cement in the well under a pressure of at least 200 pounds per square inch. Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture may be used to fill the area from 100 feet above the top of the uppermost mineable coal seam (or higher if required by the DM due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well) to the surface. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jul 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 (2) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 41⁄2inch or larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level with the American Petroleum Institute (API) well number either engraved or welded on the casing. When the hole cannot be marked with a physical monument (e.g., prime farmland), the operator will use high-resolution GPS coordinates (one-half meter resolution) to locate the hole. c. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for plugging or replugging oil and gas wells for subsequent use as degasification boreholes: (1) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping expanding cement slurry down the tubing to provide at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) of expanding cement below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater depth due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. The operator will place the expanding cement in the well under a pressure of at least 200 pounds per square inch, and extend the top of the expanding cement at least 100 feet above the top of the coal seam being mined, unless the DM requires a greater distance due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. (2) Securely grout a suitable casing into the bedrock of the upper portion of the degasification well to protect it. The remainder of this well may be cased or uncased. (3) Fit the top of the degasification casing with a wellhead, equipped as required by the DM in the approved ventilation plan. Such equipment may include check valves, shut-in valves, sampling ports, flame arrestor equipment, and security fencing. (4) Operation of the degasification well will be addressed in the approved ventilation plan. This may include periodic tests of methane levels and limits on the minimum methane concentrations that may be extracted. (5) After the area of the coal mine that is degassed by a well is sealed or the coal mine is abandoned, seal the degas holes using the following procedures: (i) Insert a tube to the bottom of the drill hole or, if not possible, to at least 100 feet above the coal seam being mined. Remove any blockage to ensure that the tube is inserted to this depth. (ii) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture down the PO 00000 Frm 00081 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 tubing until the well is filled to the surface. (iii) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 41⁄2inch or larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level with the API well number engraved or welded on the casing. d. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for preparing and plugging or replugging oil or gas wells that cannot be completely cleaned out: (1) Drill a hole adjacent and parallel to the well to a depth of at least 200 feet (or 400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater depth due to the geological strata, or due to pressures within the well. (2) Locate any casing that may remain in the well using a geophysical sensing device. (3) If the well contains casings, drill into the well from the parallel hole and perforate or rip all casings at intervals of at least 5 feet from 10 feet below the coal seam to 10 feet above the coal seam. Beyond that distance, perforate or rip all casings at least every 50 feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam up to 100 feet above the seam being mined, unless the DM requires a greater distance due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. The operator will fill the annulus between the casings and between the casings and the well wall with expanding cement (minimum of 0.5% expansion on setting), and ensure that these areas contain no voids. When multiple casing and tubing strings are present in the coal horizons, rip or perforate any casing that remains and fill with expanding cement. The operator will provide an acceptable casing bond log for each casing and tubing used in lieu of ripping or perforating multiple strings. (4) Use a horizontal hydraulic fracturing technique to intercept the original well where there is insufficient casing in the well to allow use of the method outlined in paragraph (d)(3) above. Fracture the original well in at least six places from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam to a point at least 50 feet above the seam being mined at intervals to be agreed on by the petitioner and the DM after considering the geological strata and the pressure within the well. The operator will pump E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 140 / Thursday, July 21, 2016 / Notices expanding cement into the fractured well in sufficient quantities and in a manner that fills all intercepted voids. (5) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbonproducing strata and the location for the bridge plug. The operator will maintain a journal describing: The depth and nature of each material encountered; bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; the length and type of each material used to plug the well; length of casing(s) removed, perforated, ripped, or left in place; and other pertinent information concerning sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request. (6) After the plugging the well, plug the open portions of both holes from the bottom to the surface with Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture. (7) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 41⁄2inch or larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level. e. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures after approval has been granted by the DM to mine through a plugged or replugged well: (1) Prior to cutting-through a plugged well, notify the DM or designee, representative of the miners, and the appropriate State agency in sufficient time for them to have a representative present. (2) Install drivage spads at the last open crosscut near the place to be mined to ensure intersection of the well when mining through wells using continuous mining equipment. The drivage spads will not be more than 50 feet from the well. Install drivage spads on 10-foot centers for a distance of 50 feet in advance of the well when using longwall-mining methods. The drivage spads will also be installed in the headgate. (3) Firefighting equipment, including fire extinguishers, rock dust, and sufficient fire hose to reach the working face area of the mine-through (when either the conventional or continuous mining method is used), will be available and operable during each well mine-through. The operator will locate the fire hose in the last open crosscut of the entry or room and maintain the water line to the belt conveyor tailpiece along with a sufficient amount of fire hose to reach the farthest point of penetration on the section. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jul 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 (4) Keep available at the last open crosscut, a supply of roof support and ventilation materials sufficient to ventilate and support around the well on cut-through. In addition, keep emergency plugs and suitable sealing materials will be available in the immediate area of the well intersection. (5) On the shift prior to mining through the well, all equipment will be serviced and checked for permissibility. Water sprays, water pressures and water flow rates used for dust and spark suppression will be examined and any deficiencies will be corrected. (6) Calibrate the methane monitors on the longwall, continuous mining machine, or cutting machine and loading machine on the shift prior to mining through the well. (7) When mining is in progress, test methane levels with a hand-held methane detector at least every 10 minutes from the time that mining with the continuous mining machine is within 30 feet of the well until the well is intersected and immediately prior to mining through it. No individual is allowed on the return side during the actual cutting process until the minethrough has been completed and the area examined and declared safe. All workplace examinations will be conducted on the return side of the shearer while the shearer is idle. (8) Keep the working place free from accumulations of coal dust and coal spillages, and apply rock dust on the roof, rib, and floor to within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well when using continuous or conventional mining methods. Conduct rock dusting on longwall sections on the roof, rib, and floor up to both the headgate and tailgate gob. (9) When using continuous or conventional mining methods, the working places will be free of accumulations of coal dust and coal spillages, and rock dust will be applied on the roof, rib, and floor to within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well. On longwall sections, rock dusting will be conducted and place on the roof, rib, and floor up to both the headgate and tailgate gob. (10) Deenergize all equipment when the well is intersected and thoroughly examine the place and determine it is safe before resuming mining. After a well has been intersected and the working place determined safe, mining will continue inby the well at a distance sufficient to permit adequate ventilation around the area of the well. (11) If the casing is cut or milled at the coal seam level, the use of torches should not be necessary. In rare instances, torches may be used for PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 47425 inadequately or inaccurately cut or milled casings. No open flame is permitted in the area until adequate ventilation has been established around the wellbore and methane levels are less than 1.0 percent in all areas that will be exposed to flames and sparks from the torch. The operator will apply a thick layer of rock dust to the roof, face, floor, ribs, and any exposed coal within 20 feet of the casing prior to any use of torches. (12) Non-sparking (brass) tools will be located on the working section and will be used to expose and examine cased wells. (13) No person will be permitted in the area of the cut-through operation except those actually engaged in the mining operation, including company personnel, representative of the miners, personnel from MSHA, and personnel from the appropriate State agency. (14) The operator will alert all personnel in the mine to the planned intersection of the well prior to their going underground if the planned intersection is to occur during their shift. This warning will be repeated for all shifts until the well has been mined through. (15) A certified official will directly supervise the cut-through operation and only the certified official in charge will issue instructions concerning the minethrough operation. (16) The responsible person required in 30 CFR 75.1501 will be responsible for well intersection emergencies. The responsible person will review the well intersection procedures prior to any planned intersection. Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved part 48 training plan to the DM. The proposed revisions will include initial and refresher training regarding compliance with the terms and conditions of this petition for modification. The operator will provide all miners involved in the mine-through of a well with training regarding the requirements of this petition for modification prior to mining within 150 feet of the next well to be mined through. Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved mine emergency evacuation and firefighting plan required in 30 CFR 75.1501. The petitioner will revise the plans to include the hazards and evacuation procedures to be used for well intersections. All underground miners will be trained in this revised plan within 30 days of the DM’s approval of the revised evacuation plan. E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 47426 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 140 / Thursday, July 21, 2016 / Notices Such training may be done in a weekly safety meeting or other type of appropriate setting. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure or protection afforded by the existing standard. Docket Number: M–2016–017–C. Petitioner: The Marion County Coal Company, 1 Bridge Street, Monongah, West Virginia 26554. Mine: Marion County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46–01433, located in Marion County, West Virginia. Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1700 (Oil and gas wells). Modification Requested: The petitioner requests that the previously granted petition for modification be amended for the Consolidation Coal Company, Loveridge Mine, Docket Number M–1990–156–C (now known as the Marion County Coal Company, Marion County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46–01433). The petitioner states that: (1) The large majority of petroleum wells in the Marion County Coal Company Mine were drilled prior to 1930 when no standards for drilling and plugging existed. Many wells were abandoned during that time. (2) Extensive research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, Energy Research and Development Administration, MSHA and past experience by Consolidation Coal Company has disclosed that certain plugging methods can effectively prevent explosive well gases from entering the mine during regular mining operations and allow additional safety and operational benefits that are not possible under § 75.1700. (3) In lieu of establishing and maintaining barriers around oil and gas wells, the petitioner proposes to seal the Pittsburgh Coal Seam from the surrounding strata at the affected wells by using technology developed through the petitioner’s successful well-plugging program. Since the inception of the well-plugging program, thousands of previously abandoned oil and gas wells have been effectively plugged and successfully been mined through or around. (4) In lieu of the method of plugging oil and gas wells approved in the previously granted petition, the petitioner proposes an alternative method that incorporates proven technological advances not available for plugging oil and gas wells when the previous petition was granted. As an alternative method of compliance with 30 CFR 75.1700, the petitioner proposes to maintain a safety barrier of 300 feet in diameter (150 feet VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jul 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 between any mined area and a well) around all oil and gas wells (defined to include all active, inactive, abandoned, shut-in, and previously plugged wells, including water injection wells) until approval to proceed with mining has been obtained from the District Manager (DM). Prior to mining through any oil or gas wells, the petitioner will provide to the DM a declaration stating that all mandatory procedures for cleaning out, preparing, and plugging each gas or oil well have been completed. The declaration will be accompanied by logs described in this petition and any other records that the DM may request. The DM will review the declaration, the logs and any other records that have been requested, and may inspect the well, and will then determine if the operator has complied with the procedures for cleaning out, preparing and plugging each well. If the DM determines that the procedures have been complied with and provides an approval, the operator may then mine within the safety barrier of the well according to the terms of the Order. a. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures when cleaning out and preparing oil and gas wells prior to plugging or replugging: (1) If the total depth of the well is less than 4,000 feet, the operator will completely clean out the well from the surface to at least 200 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam unless the DM requires cleaning to a greater depth based on what is required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. If the total depth of the well is 4,000 feet or greater, the operator will completely clean out the well from the surface to at least 400 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam. The operator will remove all material from the entire diameter of well, wall to wall. (2) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbonproducing strata and the location for a bridge plug. The DM may approve the use of a down-hole camera survey in lieu of down-hole logs. In addition, maintain a journal describing: The depth and nature of each material encountered; bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; length and type of each material used to plug the well; the length of casing(s) removed, perforated or ripped, or left in place; any sections where casing was cut or milled; and other pertinent information concerning cleaning and sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and other PO 00000 Frm 00083 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request. (3) Remove all of the casing in the well or, if it is not possible to remove all of the casing, fill the annulus between the casings and between the casings and the well walls with expanding cement (minimum 0.5 percent expansion on setting) and ensure that these areas contain no voids. If the casing cannot be removed, the operator will cut or mill it at all mineable coal seam levels and perforate or rip it at least every 50 feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam up to 100 feet above the uppermost mineable coal seam. If the operator can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the DM that all annuli in the well are already adequately sealed with cement using a casing bond log, then the operator will not be required to perforate or rip the casing for that particular well. When multiple casing and tubing strings are present in the coal horizon(s), the operator will perforate or rip any casing that remains and fill with expanding cement and keep an acceptable casing bond log for each casing and tubing string used in lieu of ripping or perforating multiple strings. (4) Place a mechanical bridge plug in the well if a cleaned-out well emits excessive amounts of gas. Place the mechanical bridge plug in a competent stratum at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam, but above the top of the uppermost hydrocarbon-producing stratum, unless the DM requires a greater distance based on what is required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. (The operator will provide the DM with all information it possesses concerning the geologic nature of the strata and the pressure of the well.) If it is not possible to set a mechanical bridge plug, an appropriately sized packer may be used. (5) Properly place mechanical bridge plugs to isolate the hydrocarbonproducing stratum from the expanding cement plug, if the upper-most hydrocarbon-producing stratum is within 300 feet of the base of the lowest mineable coal seam. Nevertheless, the operator will place a minimum of 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) of expanding cement below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater distance base on what is required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 140 / Thursday, July 21, 2016 / Notices b. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for plugging or replugging oil or gas wells to the surface: (1) Pump expanding cement slurry down the well to form a plug that runs from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam (or lower if required by the DM due to the geological strata, or due to pressure within the well) to the surface. The operator will place the expanding cement in the well under a pressure of at least 200 pounds per square inch. Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture may be used to fill the area from 100 feet above the top of the uppermost mineable coal seam (or higher if required by the DM due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well) to the surface. (2) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 41⁄2inch or larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level with the American Petroleum Institute (API) well number either engraved or welded on the casing. When the hole cannot be marked with a physical monument (e.g., prime farmland), the operator will use high-resolution GPS coordinates (one-half meter resolution) to locate the hole. c. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for plugging or replugging oil and gas wells for subsequent use as degasification boreholes: (1) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping expanding cement slurry down the tubing to provide at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) of expanding cement below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater depth due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. The operator will place the expanding cement in the well under a pressure of at least 200 pounds per square inch and extend the top of the expanding cement at least 100 feet above the top of the coal seam being mined, unless the DM requires a greater distance due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. (2) Securely grout a suitable casing into the bedrock of the upper portion of the degasification well to protect it. The remainder of this well may be cased or uncased. (3) Fit the top of the degasification casing with a wellhead, equipped as required by the DM in the approved ventilation plan. Such equipment may VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jul 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 include check valves, shut-in valves, sampling ports, flame arrestor equipment, and security fencing. (4) Operation of the degasification well will be addressed in the approved ventilation plan. This may include periodic tests of methane levels and limits on the minimum methane concentrations that may be extracted. (5) After the area of the coal mine that is degassed by a well is sealed or the coal mine is abandoned, seal the degas holes using the following procedures: (i) Insert a tube to the bottom of the drill hole or, if not possible, to at least 100 feet above the coal seam being mined. Remove any blockage to ensure that the tube is inserted to this depth. (ii) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture down the tubing until the well is filled to the surface. (iii) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 41⁄2inch or larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level with the API well number engraved or welded on the casing. d. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for preparing and plugging or replugging oil or gas wells that cannot be completely cleaned out: (1) Drill a hole adjacent and parallel to the well to a depth of at least 200 feet (or 400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater depth due to the geological strata, or due to pressures within the well. (2) Locate any casing that may remain in the well using a geophysical sensing device. (3) If the well contains casings, drill into the well from the parallel hole and perforate or rip all casings at intervals of at least 5 feet from 10 feet below the coal seam to 10 feet above the coal seam. Beyond that distance, perforate or rip all casings at least every 50 feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam up to 100 feet above the seam being mined, unless the DM requires a greater distance due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. The operator will fill the annulus between the casings and between the casings and the well wall with expanding cement (minimum of 0.5% expansion on setting), and ensure that these areas contain no voids. When multiple casing and tubing strings are present in the coal horizons, rip or perforate any PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 47427 casing that remains and fill with expanding cement. The operator will provide an acceptable casing bond log for each casing and tubing used in lieu of ripping or perforating multiple strings. (4) Use a horizontal hydraulic fracturing technique to intercept the original well where there is sufficient casing in the well to allow use of the method outlined in paragraph (d)(3) above. Fracture the original well in at least six places from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam to a point at least 50 feet above the seam being mined at intervals to be agreed on by the petitioner and the DM after considering the geological strata and the pressure within the well. The operator will pump expanding cement into the fractured well in sufficient quantities and in a manner that fills all intercepted voids. (5) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbonproducing strata and the location for the bridge plug. The operator will maintain a journal describing; the depth and nature of each material encountered; bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; the length and type of each material used to plug the well; length of casing(s) removed, perforated, ripped, or left in place; and other pertinent information concerning sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request. (6) After the plugging the well, plug the open portions of both holes from the bottom to the surface with Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture. (7) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 41⁄2inch or larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level. e. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures after approval has been granted by the DM to mine through a plugged or replugged well: (1) Prior to cutting-through a plugged well, notify the DM or designee, representative of the miners, and the appropriate State agency in sufficient time for them to have a representative present. (2) Install drivage spads at the last open crosscut near the place to be mined to ensure intersection of the well when mining through wells using continuous mining equipment. The E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 47428 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 140 / Thursday, July 21, 2016 / Notices drivage spads will not be more than 50 feet from the well. Install drivage spads on 10-foot centers for a distance of 50 feet in advance of the well when using longwall-mining methods. The drivage spads will also be installed in the headgate. (3) Firefighting equipment, including fire extinguishers, rock dust, and sufficient fire hose to reach the working face area of the mine-through (when either the conventional or continuous mining method is used), will be available and operable during each well mine-through. The operator will locate the fire hose in the last open crosscut of the entry or room and maintain the water line to the belt conveyor tailpiece along with a sufficient amount of fire hose to reach the farthest point of penetration on the section. (4) Keep available at the last open crosscut, a supply of roof support and ventilation materials sufficient to ventilate and support around the well on cut-through. In addition, keep emergency plugs and suitable sealing materials will be available in the immediate area of the well intersection. (5) On the shift prior to mining through the well, all equipment will be serviced and checked for permissibility. Water sprays, water pressures and water flow rates used for dust and spark suppression will be examined and any deficiencies will be corrected. (6) Calibrate the methane monitors on the longwall, continuous mining machine, or cutting machine and loading machine on the shift prior to mining through the well. (7) When mining is in progress, test methane levels with a hand-held methane detector at least every 10 minutes from the time that mining with the continuous mining machine is within 30 feet of the well until the well is intersected and immediately prior to mining through it. No individual is allowed on the return side during the actual cutting process until the minethrough has been completed and the area examined and declared safe. All workplace examinations will be conducted on the return side of the shearer while the shearer is idle. (8) Keep the working place free from accumulations of coal dust and coal spillages, and apply rock dust on the roof, rib, and floor to within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well when using continuous or conventional mining methods. Conduct rock dusting on longwall sections on the roof, rib, and floor up to both the headgate and tailgate gob. (9) When using continuous or conventional mining methods, the working places will be free of VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jul 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 accumulations of coal dust and coal spillages, and rock dust will be applied on the roof, rib, and floor to within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well. On longwall sections, rock dusting will be conducted and place on the roof, rib, and floor up to both the headgate and tailgate gob. (10) Deenergize all equipment when the well is intersected and thoroughly examine the place and determine it is safe before resuming mining. After a well has been intersected and the working place determined safe, mining will continue inby the well at a distance sufficient to permit adequate ventilation around the area of the well. (11) If the casing is cut or milled at the coal seam level, the use of torches should not be necessary. In rare instances, torches may be used for inadequately or inaccurately cut or milled casings. No open flame is permitted in the area until adequate ventilation has been established around the wellbore and methane levels are less than 1.0 percent in all areas that will be exposed to flames and sparks from the torch. The operator will apply a thick layer of rock dust to the roof, face, floor, ribs, and any exposed coal within 20 feet of the casing prior to any use of torches. (12) Non-sparking (brass) tools will be located on the working section and will be used to expose and examine cased wells. (13) No person will be permitted in the area of the cut-through operation except those actually engaged in the mining operation, including company personnel, representative of the miners, personnel from MSHA, and personnel from the appropriate State agency. (14) The operator will alert all personnel in the mine to the planned intersection of the well prior to their going underground if the planned intersection is to occur during their shift. This warning will be repeated for all shifts until the well has been mined through. (15) A certified official will directly supervise the cut-through operation and only the certified official in charge will issue instructions concerning the minethrough operation. (16) The responsible person required in 30 CFR 75.1501 will be responsible for well intersection emergencies. The responsible person will review the well intersection procedures prior to any planned intersection. Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved part 48 training plan to the DM. The proposed revisions will include initial and refresher training regarding PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 compliance with the terms and conditions of this petition for modification. The operator will provide all miners involved in the mine-through of a well with training regarding the requirements of this petition for modification prior to mining within 150 feet of the next well to be mined through. Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved mine emergency evacuation and firefighting plan required in 30 CFR 75.1501. The petitioner will revise the plans to include the hazards and evacuation procedures to be used for well intersections. All underground miners will be trained in this revised plan within 30 days of the DM’s approval of the revised evacuation plan. Such training may be done in a weekly safety meeting or other type of appropriate setting. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure or protection afforded by the existing standard. Docket Number: M–2016–018–C. Petitioner: The Monongalia County Coal Company, 1 Bridge Street, Monongah, West Virginia 26554. Mine: Monongalia County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46–01968, located in Monongalia County, West Virginia. Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1700 (Oil and gas wells). Modification Requested: The petitioner requests that the previously granted petition for modification be amended for the Consolidation Coal Company, Blacksville No. 2 Mine, Docket Number M–2001–014–C (now known as the Monongalia County Coal Company, Monongalia County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46–01968). The petitioner states that: (1) The large majority of petroleum wells in the Marion County Coal Company Mine were drilled prior to 1930 when no standards for drilling and plugging existed. Many wells were abandoned during that time. (2) Extensive research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, Energy Research and Development Administration, MSHA and past experience by Consolidation Coal Company has disclosed that certain plugging methods can effectively prevent explosive well gases from entering the mine during regular mining operations and allow additional safety and operational benefits that are not possible under § 75.1700. (3) In lieu of establishing and maintaining barriers around oil and gas wells, the petitioner proposes to seal the E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 140 / Thursday, July 21, 2016 / Notices Pittsburgh Coal Seam from the surrounding strata at the affected wells by using technology developed through the petitioner’s successful well-plugging program. Since the inception of the well-plugging program, thousands of previously abandoned oil and gas wells have been effectively plugged and successfully been mined through or around. (4) In lieu of the method of plugging oil and gas wells approved in the previously granted petition, the petitioner proposes an alternative method that incorporates proven technological advances not available for plugging oil and gas wells when the previous petition was granted. As an alternative method of compliance with 30 CFR 75.1700, the petitioner proposes to maintain a safety barrier of 300 feet in diameter (150 feet between any mined area and a well) around all oil and gas wells (defined to include all active, inactive, abandoned, shut-in, and previously plugged wells, including water injection wells) until approval to proceed with mining has been obtained from the District Manager (DM). Prior to mining through any oil or gas wells, the petitioner will provide to the DM a declaration stating that all mandatory procedures for cleaning out, preparing, and plugging each gas or oil well have been completed. The declaration will be accompanied by logs described in this petition and any other records that the DM may request. The DM will review the declaration, the logs and any other records that have been requested, and may inspect the well, and will then determine if the operator has complied with the procedures for cleaning out, preparing and plugging each well. If the DM determines that the procedures have been complied with and provides an approval, the operator may then mine within the safety barrier of the well according to the terms of the Order. a. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures when cleaning out and preparing oil and gas wells prior to plugging or replugging: (1) If the total depth of the well is less than 4,000 feet, the operator will completely clean out the well from the surface to at least 200 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam unless the DM requires cleaning to a greater depth based on what is required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. If the total depth of the well is 4,000 feet or greater, the operator will completely clean out the well from the surface to at least 400 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam. The operator will VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jul 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 remove all material from the entire diameter of well, wall to wall. (2) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbonproducing strata and the location for a bridge plug. The DM may approve the use of a down-hole camera survey in lieu of down-hole logs. In addition, maintain a journal describing: The depth and nature of each material encountered; bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; length and type of each material used to plug the well; The length of casing(s) removed, perforated or ripped, or left in place; any sections where casing was cut or milled; and other pertinent information concerning cleaning and sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request. (3) Remove all of the casing in the well or, if it is not possible to remove all of the casing, fill the annulus between the casings and between the casings and the well walls with expanding cement (minimum 0.5 percent expansion on setting) and ensure that these areas contain no voids. If the casing cannot be removed, the operator will cut or mill it at all mineable coal seam levels and perforate or rip it at least every 50 feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam up to 100 feet above the uppermost mineable coal seam. If the operator can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the DM that all annuli in the well are already adequately sealed with cement using a casing bond log, then the operator will not be required to perforate or rip the casing for that particular well. When multiple casing and tubing strings are present in the coal horizon(s), the operator will perforate or rip any casing that remains and fill with expanding cement and keep an acceptable casing bond log for each casing and tubing string used in lieu of ripping or perforating multiple strings. (4) Place a mechanical bridge plug in the well if a cleaned-out well emits excessive amounts of gas. Place the mechanical bridge plug in a competent stratum at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam, but above the top of the uppermost hydrocarbon-producing stratum, unless the DM requires a greater distance based on what is required due to the geological strata, or PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 47429 due to the pressure within the well. (The operator will provide the DM with all information it possesses concerning the geologic nature of the strata and the pressure of the well.) If it is not possible to set a mechanical bridge plug, an appropriately sized packer may be used. (5) Properly place mechanical bridge plugs to isolate the hydrocarbonproducing stratum from the expanding cement plug, if the upper-most hydrocarbon-producing stratum is within 300 feet of the base of the lowest mineable coal seam. Nevertheless, the operator will place a minimum of 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) of expanding cement below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater distance base on what is required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. b. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for plugging or replugging oil or gas wells to the surface: (1) Pump expanding cement slurry down the well to form a plug that runs from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam (or lower if required by the DM due to the geological strata, or due to pressure within the well) to the surface. The operator will place the expanding cement in the well under a pressure of at least 200 pounds per square inch. Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture may be used to fill the area from 100 feet above the top of the uppermost mineable coal seam (or higher if required by the DM due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well) to the surface. (2) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 41⁄2inch or larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level with the American Petroleum Institute (API) well number either engraved or welded on the casing. When the hole cannot be marked with a physical monument (e.g., prime farmland), the operator will use high-resolution GPS coordinates (one-half meter resolution) to locate the hole. c. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for plugging or replugging oil and gas wells for subsequent use as degasification boreholes: (1) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping expanding cement slurry down the tubing to provide at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) of expanding E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 47430 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 140 / Thursday, July 21, 2016 / Notices cement below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater depth due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. The operator will place the expanding cement in the well under a pressure of at least 200 pounds per square inch and extend the top of the expanding cement at least 100 feet above the top of the coal seam being mined, unless the DM requires a greater distance due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. (2) Securely grout a suitable casing into the bedrock of the upper portion of the degasification well to protect it. The remainder of this well may be cased or uncased. (3) Fit the top of the degasification casing with a wellhead, equipped as required by the DM in the approved ventilation plan. Such equipment may include check valves, shut-in valves, sampling ports, flame arrestor equipment, and security fencing. (4) Operation of the degasification well will be addressed in the approved ventilation plan. This may include periodic tests of methane levels and limits on the minimum methane concentrations that may be extracted. (5) After the area of the coal mine that is degassed by a well is sealed or the coal mine is abandoned, seal the degas holes using the following procedures: (i) Insert a tube to the bottom of the drill hole or, if not possible, to at least 100 feet above the coal seam being mined. Remove any blockage to ensure that the tube is inserted to this depth. (ii) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture down the tubing until the well is filled to the surface. (iii) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 41⁄2inch or larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level with the API well number engraved or welded on the casing. d. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for preparing and plugging or replugging oil or gas wells that cannot be completely cleaned out: (1) Drill a hole adjacent and parallel to the well to a depth of at least 200 feet (or 400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater depth due to the geological strata, or due to pressures within the well. (2) Locate any casing that may remain in the well using a geophysical sensing device. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jul 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 (3) If the well contains casings, drill into the well from the parallel hole and perforate or rip all casings at intervals of at least 5 feet from 10 feet below the coal seam to 10 feet above the coal seam. Beyond that distance, perforate or rip all casings at least every 50 feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam up to 100 feet above the seam being mined, unless the DM requires a greater distance due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. The operator will fill the annulus between the casings and between the casings and the well wall with expanding cement (minimum of 0.5% expansion on setting), and ensure that these areas contain no voids. When multiple casing and tubing strings are present in the coal horizons, rip or perforate any casing that remains and fill with expanding cement. The operator will provide an acceptable casing bond log for each casing and tubing used in lieu of ripping or perforating multiple strings. (4) Use a horizontal hydraulic fracturing technique to intercept the original well where there is sufficient casing in the well to allow use of the method outlined in paragraph (d)(3) above. Fracture the original well in at least six places from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam to a point at least 50 feet above the seam being mined at intervals to be agreed on by the petitioner and the DM after considering the geological strata and the pressure within the well. The operator will pump expanding cement into the fractured well in sufficient quantities and in a manner that fills all intercepted voids. (5) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbonproducing strata and the location for the bridge plug. The operator will maintain a journal describing; the depth and nature of each material encountered; bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; the length and type of each material used to plug the well; length of casing(s) removed, perforated, ripped, or left in place; and other pertinent information concerning sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request. (6) After the plugging the well, plug the open portions of both holes from the bottom to the surface with Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture. PO 00000 Frm 00087 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 (7) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 41⁄2inch or larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level. e. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures after approval has been granted by the DM to mine through a plugged or replugged well: (1) Prior to cutting-through a plugged well, notify the DM or designee, representative of the miners, and the appropriate State agency in sufficient time for them to have a representative present. (2) Install drivage spads at the last open crosscut near the place to be mined to ensure intersection of the well when mining through wells using continuous mining equipment. The drivage spads will not be more than 50 feet from the well. Install drivage spads on 10-foot centers for a distance of 50 feet in advance of the well when using longwall-mining methods. The drivage spads will also be installed in the headgate. (3) Firefighting equipment, including fire extinguishers, rock dust, and sufficient fire hose to reach the working face area of the mine-through (when either the conventional or continuous mining method is used), will be available and operable during each well mine-through. The operator will locate the fire hose in the last open crosscut of the entry or room and maintain the water line to the belt conveyor tailpiece along with a sufficient amount of fire hose to reach the farthest point of penetration on the section. (4) Keep available at the last open crosscut, a supply of roof support and ventilation materials sufficient to ventilate and support around the well on cut-through. In addition, keep emergency plugs and suitable sealing materials will be available in the immediate area of the well intersection. (5) On the shift prior to mining through the well, all equipment will be serviced and checked for permissibility. Water sprays, water pressures and water flow rates used for dust and spark suppression will be examined and any deficiencies will be corrected. (6) Calibrate the methane monitors on the longwall, continuous mining machine, or cutting machine and loading machine on the shift prior to mining through the well. (7) When mining is in progress, test methane levels with a hand-held methane detector at least every 10 minutes from the time that mining with the continuous mining machine is within 30 feet of the well until the well E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 140 / Thursday, July 21, 2016 / Notices is intersected and immediately prior to mining through it. No individual is allowed on the return side during the actual cutting process until the minethrough has been completed and the area examined and declared safe. All workplace examinations will be conducted on the return side of the shearer while the shearer is idle. (8) Keep the working place free from accumulations of coal dust and coal spillages, and apply rock dust on the roof, rib, and floor to within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well when using continuous or conventional mining methods. Conduct rock dusting on longwall sections on the roof, rib, and floor up to both the headgate and tailgate gob. (9) When using continuous or conventional mining methods, the working places will be free of accumulations of coal dust and coal spillages, and rock dust will be applied on the roof, rib, and floor to within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well. On longwall sections, rock dusting will be conducted and place on the roof, rib, and floor up to both the headgate and tailgate gob. (10) Deenergize all equipment when the well is intersected and thoroughly examine the place and determine it is safe before resuming mining. After a well has been intersected and the working place determined safe, mining will continue inby the well at a distance sufficient to permit adequate ventilation around the area of the well. (11) If the casing is cut or milled at the coal seam level, the use of torches should not be necessary. In rare instances, torches may be used for inadequately or inaccurately cut or milled casings. No open flame is permitted in the area until adequate ventilation has been established around the wellbore and methane levels are less than 1.0 percent in all areas that will be exposed to flames and sparks from the torch. The operator will apply a thick layer of rock dust to the roof, face, floor, ribs, and any exposed coal within 20 feet of the casing prior to any use of torches. (12) Non-sparking (brass) tools will be located on the working section and will be used to expose and examine cased wells. (13) No person will be permitted in the area of the cut-through operation except those actually engaged in the mining operation, including company personnel, representative of the miners, personnel from MSHA, and personnel from the appropriate State agency. (14) The operator will alert all personnel in the mine to the planned intersection of the well prior to their VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jul 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 going underground if the planned intersection is to occur during their shift. This warning will be repeated for all shifts until the well has been mined through. (15) A certified official will directly supervise the cut-through operation and only the certified official in charge will issue instructions concerning the minethrough operation. (16) The responsible person required in 30 CFR 75.1501 will be responsible for well intersection emergencies. The responsible person will review the well intersection procedures prior to any planned intersection. Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved part 48 training plan to the DM. The proposed revisions will include initial and refresher training regarding compliance with the terms and conditions of this petition for modification. The operator will provide all miners involved in the mine-through of a well with training regarding the requirements of this petition for modification prior to mining within 150 feet of the next well to be mined through. Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved mine emergency evacuation and firefighting plan required in 30 CFR 75.1501. The petitioner will revise the plans to include the hazards and evacuation procedures to be used for well intersections. All underground miners will be trained in this revised plan within 30 days of the DM’s approval of the revised evacuation plan. Such training may be done in a weekly safety meeting or other type of appropriate setting. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure or protection afforded by the existing standard. Docket Number: M–2016–019–C. Petitioner: The Harrison County Coal Company, 1 Bridge Street, Monongah, West Virginia 26554. Mine: Harrison County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46–01318, located in Marion County, West Virginia. Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1700 (Oil and gas wells). Modification Requested: The petitioner requests that the previously granted petition for modification be amended for the Consolidation Coal Company, Robinson Run Mine, Docket Number M–2001–015–C (now known as the Harrison County Coal Company, Harrison County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46–01318). The petitioner states that: PO 00000 Frm 00088 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 47431 (1) The large majority of petroleum wells in the Marion County Coal Company Mine were drilled prior to 1930 when no standards for drilling and plugging existed. Many wells were abandoned during that time. (2) Extensive research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, Energy Research and Development Administration, MSHA and past experience by Consolidation Coal Company has disclosed that certain plugging methods can effectively prevent explosive well gases from entering the mine during regular mining operations and allow additional safety and operational benefits that are not possible under § 75.1700. (3) In lieu of establishing and maintaining barriers around oil and gas wells, the petitioner proposes to seal the Pittsburgh Coal Seam from the surrounding strata at the affected wells by using technology developed through the petitioner’s successful well-plugging program. Since the inception of the well-plugging program, thousands of previously abandoned oil and gas wells have been effectively plugged and successfully been mined through or around. (4) In lieu of the method of plugging oil and gas wells approved in the previously granted petition, the petitioner proposes an alternative method that incorporates proven technological advances not available for plugging oil and gas wells when the previous petition was granted. As an alternative method of compliance with 30 CFR 75.1700, the petitioner proposes to maintain a safety barrier of 300 feet in diameter (150 feet between any mined area and a well) around all oil and gas wells (defined to include all active, inactive, abandoned, shut-in, and previously plugged wells, including water injection wells) until approval to proceed with mining has been obtained from the District Manager (DM). Prior to mining through any oil or gas wells, the petitioner will provide to the DM a declaration stating that all mandatory procedures for cleaning out, preparing, and plugging each gas or oil well have been completed. The declaration will be accompanied by logs described in this petition and any other records that the DM may request. The DM will review the declaration, the logs and any other records that have been requested, and may inspect the well, and will then determine if the operator has complied with the procedures for cleaning out, preparing and plugging each well. If the DM determines that the procedures have been complied with and provides an approval, the operator E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 47432 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 140 / Thursday, July 21, 2016 / Notices may then mine within the safety barrier of the well according to the terms of the Order. a. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures when cleaning out and preparing oil and gas wells prior to plugging or replugging: (1) If the total depth of the well is less than 4,000 feet, the operator will completely clean out the well from the surface to at least 200 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam unless the DM requires cleaning to a greater depth based on what is required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. If the total depth of the well is 4,000 feet or greater, the operator will completely clean out the well from the surface to at least 400 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam. The operator will remove all material from the entire diameter of well, wall to wall. (2) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbonproducing strata and the location for a bridge plug. The DM may approve the use of a down-hole camera survey in lieu of down-hole logs. In addition, maintain a journal describing: The depth and nature of each material encountered; bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; length and type of each material used to plug the well; the length of casing(s) removed, perforated or ripped, or left in place; any sections where casing was cut or milled; and other pertinent information concerning cleaning and sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request. (3) Remove all of the casing in the well or, if it is not possible to remove all of the casing, fill the annulus between the casings and between the casings and the well walls with expanding cement (minimum 0.5 percent expansion on setting) and ensure that these areas contain no voids. If the casing cannot be removed, the operator will cut or mill it at all mineable coal seam levels and perforate or rip it at least every 50 feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam up to 100 feet above the uppermost mineable coal seam. If the operator can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the DM that all annuli in the well are already adequately sealed with cement using a casing bond log, then the operator will not be required to perforate or rip the casing for that VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jul 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 particular well. When multiple casing and tubing strings are present in the coal horizon(s), the operator will perforate or rip any casing that remains and fill with expanding cement and keep an acceptable casing bond log for each casing and tubing string used in lieu of ripping or perforating multiple strings. (4) Place a mechanical bridge plug in the well if a cleaned-out well emits excessive amounts of gas. Place the mechanical bridge plug in a competent stratum at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam, but above the top of the uppermost hydrocarbon-producing stratum, unless the DM requires a greater distance based on what is required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. (The operator will provide the DM with all information it possesses concerning the geologic nature of the strata and the pressure of the well.) If it is not possible to set a mechanical bridge plug, an appropriately sized packer may be used. (5) Properly place mechanical bridge plugs to isolate the hydrocarbonproducing stratum from the expanding cement plug, if the upper-most hydrocarbon-producing stratum is within 300 feet of the base of the lowest mineable coal seam. Nevertheless, the operator will place a minimum of 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) of expanding cement below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater distance base on what is required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. b. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for plugging or replugging oil or gas wells to the surface: (1) Pump expanding cement slurry down the well to form a plug that runs from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam (or lower if required by the DM due to the geological strata, or due to pressure within the well) to the surface. The operator will place the expanding cement in the well under a pressure of at least 200 pounds per square inch. Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture may be used to fill the area from 100 feet above the top of the uppermost mineable coal seam (or higher if required by the DM due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well) to the surface. (2) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic monument of the PO 00000 Frm 00089 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 well. In the alternative, extend a 41⁄2inch or larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level with the American Petroleum Institute (API) well number either engraved or welded on the casing. When the hole cannot be marked with a physical monument (e.g., prime farmland), the operator will use high-resolution GPS coordinates (one-half meter resolution) to locate the hole. c. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for plugging or replugging oil and gas wells for subsequent use as degasification boreholes: (1) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping expanding cement slurry down the tubing to provide at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) of expanding cement below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater depth due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. The operator will place the expanding cement in the well under a pressure of at least 200 pounds per square inch and extend the top of the expanding cement at least 100 feet above the top of the coal seam being mined, unless the DM requires a greater distance due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. (2) Securely grout a suitable casing into the bedrock of the upper portion of the degasification well to protect it. The remainder of this well may be cased or uncased. (3) Fit the top of the degasification casing with a wellhead, equipped as required by the DM in the approved ventilation plan. Such equipment may include check valves, shut-in valves, sampling ports, flame arrestor equipment, and security fencing. (4) Operation of the degasification well will be addressed in the approved ventilation plan. This may include periodic tests of methane levels and limits on the minimum methane concentrations that may be extracted. (5) After the area of the coal mine that is degassed by a well is sealed or the coal mine is abandoned, seal the degas holes using the following procedures: (i) Insert a tube to the bottom of the drill hole or, if not possible, to at least 100 feet above the coal seam being mined. Remove any blockage to ensure that the tube is inserted to this depth. (ii) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture down the tubing until the well is filled to the surface. (iii) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the top of the cement near the surface to serve as E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 140 / Thursday, July 21, 2016 / Notices a permanent magnetic monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 41⁄2inch or larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level with the API well number engraved or welded on the casing. d. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for preparing and plugging or replugging oil or gas wells that cannot be completely cleaned out: (1) Drill a hole adjacent and parallel to the well to a depth of at least 200 feet (or 400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater depth due to the geological strata, or due to pressures within the well. (2) Locate any casing that may remain in the well using a geophysical sensing device. (3) If the well contains casings, drill into the well from the parallel hole and perforate or rip all casings at intervals of at least 5 feet from 10 feet below the coal seam to 10 feet above the coal seam. Beyond that distance, perforate or rip all casings at least every 50 feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam up to 100 feet above the seam being mined, unless the DM requires a greater distance due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. The operator will fill the annulus between the casings and between the casings and the well wall with expanding cement (minimum of 0.5% expansion on setting), and ensure that these areas contain no voids. When multiple casing and tubing strings are present in the coal horizons, rip or perforate any casing that remains and fill with expanding cement. The operator will provide an acceptable casing bond log for each casing and tubing used in lieu of ripping or perforating multiple strings. (4) Use a horizontal hydraulic fracturing technique to intercept the original well where there is sufficient casing in the well to allow use of the method outlined in paragraph (d)(3) above. Fracture the original well in at least six places from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam to a point at least 50 feet above the seam being mined at intervals to be agreed on by the petitioner and the DM after considering the geological strata and the pressure within the well. The operator will pump expanding cement into the fractured well in sufficient quantities and in a manner that fills all intercepted voids. (5) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of a caliper VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jul 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbonproducing strata and the location for the bridge plug. The operator will maintain a journal describing; the depth and nature of each material encountered; bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; the length and type of each material used to plug the well; length of casing(s) removed, perforated, ripped, or left in place; and other pertinent information concerning sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request. (6) After the plugging the well, plug the open portions of both holes from the bottom to the surface with Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture. (7) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 41⁄2inch or larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level. e. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures after approval has been granted by the DM to mine through a plugged or replugged well: (1) Prior to cutting-through a plugged well, notify the DM or designee, representative of the miners, and the appropriate State agency in sufficient time for them to have a representative present. (2) Install drivage spads at the last open crosscut near the place to be mined to ensure intersection of the well when mining through wells using continuous mining equipment. The drivage spads will not be more than 50 feet from the well. Install drivage spads on 10-foot centers for a distance of 50 feet in advance of the well when using longwall-mining methods. The drivage spads will also be installed in the headgate. (3) Firefighting equipment, including fire extinguishers, rock dust, and sufficient fire hose to reach the working face area of the mine-through (when either the conventional or continuous mining method is used), will be available and operable during each well mine-through. The operator will locate the fire hose in the last open crosscut of the entry or room and maintain the water line to the belt conveyor tailpiece along with a sufficient amount of fire hose to reach the farthest point of penetration on the section. (4) Keep available at the last open crosscut, a supply of roof support and ventilation materials sufficient to ventilate and support around the well on cut-through. In addition, keep PO 00000 Frm 00090 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 47433 emergency plugs and suitable sealing materials will be available in the immediate area of the well intersection. (5) On the shift prior to mining through the well, all equipment will be serviced and checked for permissibility. Water sprays, water pressures and water flow rates used for dust and spark suppression will be examined and any deficiencies will be corrected. (6) Calibrate the methane monitors on the longwall, continuous mining machine, or cutting machine and loading machine on the shift prior to mining through the well. (7) When mining is in progress, test methane levels with a hand-held methane detector at least every 10 minutes from the time that mining with the continuous mining machine is within 30 feet of the well until the well is intersected and immediately prior to mining through it. No individual is allowed on the return side during the actual cutting process until the minethrough has been completed and the area examined and declared safe. All workplace examinations will be conducted on the return side of the shearer while the shearer is idle. (8) Keep the working place free from accumulations of coal dust and coal spillages, and apply rock dust on the roof, rib, and floor to within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well when using continuous or conventional mining methods. Conduct rock dusting on longwall sections on the roof, rib, and floor up to both the headgate and tailgate gob. (9) When using continuous or conventional mining methods, the working places will be free of accumulations of coal dust and coal spillages, and rock dust will be applied on the roof, rib, and floor to within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well. On longwall sections, rock dusting will be conducted and place on the roof, rib, and floor up to both the headgate and tailgate gob. (10) Deenergize all equipment when the well is intersected and thoroughly examine the place and determine it is safe before resuming mining. After a well has been intersected and the working place determined safe, mining will continue inby the well at a distance sufficient to permit adequate ventilation around the area of the well. (11) If the casing is cut or milled at the coal seam level, the use of torches should not be necessary. In rare instances, torches may be used for inadequately or inaccurately cut or milled casings. No open flame is permitted in the area until adequate ventilation has been established around the wellbore and methane levels are less E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 47434 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 140 / Thursday, July 21, 2016 / Notices than 1.0 percent in all areas that will be exposed to flames and sparks from the torch. The operator will apply a thick layer of rock dust to the roof, face, floor, ribs, and any exposed coal within 20 feet of the casing prior to any use of torches. (12) Non-sparking (brass) tools will be located on the working section and will be used to expose and examine cased wells. (13) No person will be permitted in the area of the cut-through operation except those actually engaged in the mining operation, including company personnel, representative of the miners, personnel from MSHA, and personnel from the appropriate State agency. (14) The operator will alert all personnel in the mine to the planned intersection of the well prior to their going underground if the planned intersection is to occur during their shift. This warning will be repeated for all shifts until the well has been mined through. (15) A certified official will directly supervise the cut-through operation and only the certified official in charge will issue instructions concerning the minethrough operation. (16) The responsible person required in 30 CFR 75.1501 will be responsible for well intersection emergencies. The responsible person will review the well intersection procedures prior to any planned intersection. Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved part 48 training plan to the DM. The proposed revisions will include initial and refresher training regarding compliance with the terms and conditions of this petition for modification. The operator will provide all miners involved in the mine-through of a well with training regarding the requirements of this petition for modification prior to mining within 150 feet of the next well to be mined through. Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved mine emergency evacuation and firefighting plan required in 30 CFR 75.1501. The petitioner will revise the plans to include the hazards and evacuation procedures to be used for well intersections. All underground miners will be trained in this revised plan within 30 days of the DM’s approval of the revised evacuation plan. Such training may be done in a weekly safety meeting or other type of appropriate setting. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jul 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 times guarantee no less than the same measure or protection afforded by the existing standard. Docket Number: M–2016–020–C. Petitioner: The Ohio County Coal Company, 1 Bridge Street, Monongah, West Virginia 26554. Mine: Ohio County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46–01436, located in Marshall County, West Virginia. Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1700 (Oil and gas wells). Modification Requested: The petitioner requests that the previously granted petition for modification be amended for the Consolidation Coal Company, Shoemaker Mine, Docket Number M–1990–066–C (now known as the Ohio County Coal Company, Ohio County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46– 01436). The petitioner states that: (1) The large majority of petroleum wells in the Marion County Coal Company Mine were drilled prior to 1930 when no standards for drilling and plugging existed. Many wells were abandoned during that time. (2) Extensive research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, Energy Research and Development Administration, MSHA and past experience by Consolidation Coal Company has disclosed that certain plugging methods can effectively prevent explosive well gases from entering the mine during regular mining operations and allow additional safety and operational benefits that are not possible under § 75.1700. (3) In lieu of establishing and maintaining barriers around oil and gas wells, the petitioner proposes to seal the Pittsburgh Coal Seam from the surrounding strata at the affected wells by using technology developed through the petitioner’s successful well-plugging program. Since the inception of the well-plugging program, thousands of previously abandoned oil and gas wells have been effectively plugged and successfully been mined through or around. (4) In lieu of the method of plugging oil and gas wells approved in the previously granted petition, the petitioner proposes an alternative method that incorporates proven technological advances not available for plugging oil and gas wells when the previous petition was granted. As an alternative method of compliance with 30 CFR 75.1700, the petitioner proposes to maintain a safety barrier of 300 feet in diameter (150 feet between any mined area and a well) around all oil and gas wells (defined to include all active, inactive, abandoned, shut-in, and previously plugged wells, including water injection wells) until PO 00000 Frm 00091 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 approval to proceed with mining has been obtained from the District Manager (DM). Prior to mining through any oil or gas wells, the petitioner will provide to the DM a declaration stating that all mandatory procedures for cleaning out, preparing, and plugging each gas or oil well have been completed. The declaration will be accompanied by logs described in this petition and any other records that the DM may request. The DM will review the declaration, the logs and any other records that have been requested, and may inspect the well, and will then determine if the operator has complied with the procedures for cleaning out, preparing and plugging each well. If the DM determines that the procedures have been complied with and provides an approval, the operator may then mine within the safety barrier of the well according to the terms of the Order. a. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures when cleaning out and preparing oil and gas wells prior to plugging or replugging: (1) If the total depth of the well is less than 4,000 feet, the operator will completely clean out the well from the surface to at least 200 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam unless the DM requires cleaning to a greater depth based on what is required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. If the total depth of the well is 4,000 feet or greater, the operator will completely clean out the well from the surface to at least 400 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam. The operator will remove all material from the entire diameter of well, wall to wall. (2) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbonproducing strata and the location for a bridge plug. The DM may approve the use of a down-hole camera survey in lieu of down-hole logs. In addition, maintain a journal describing: The depth and nature of each material encountered; bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; length and type of each material used to plug the well; the length of casing(s) removed, perforated or ripped, or left in place; any sections where casing was cut or milled; and other pertinent information concerning cleaning and sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request. (3) Remove all of the casing in the well or, if it is not possible to remove E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 140 / Thursday, July 21, 2016 / Notices all of the casing, fill the annulus between the casings and between the casings and the well walls with expanding cement (minimum 0.5 percent expansion on setting) and ensure that these areas contain no voids. If the casing cannot be removed, the operator will cut or mill it at all mineable coal seam levels and perforate or rip it at least every 50 feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam up to 100 feet above the uppermost mineable coal seam. If the operator can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the DM that all annuli in the well are already adequately sealed with cement using a casing bond log, then the operator will not be required to perforate or rip the casing for that particular well. When multiple casing and tubing strings are present in the coal horizon(s), the operator will perforate or rip any casing that remains and fill with expanding cement and keep an acceptable casing bond log for each casing and tubing string used in lieu of ripping or perforating multiple strings. (4) Place a mechanical bridge plug in the well if a cleaned-out well emits excessive amounts of gas. Place the mechanical bridge plug in a competent stratum at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam, but above the top of the uppermost hydrocarbon-producing stratum, unless the DM requires a greater distance based on what is required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. (The operator will provide the DM with all information it possesses concerning the geologic nature of the strata and the pressure of the well.) If it is not possible to set a mechanical bridge plug, an appropriately sized packer may be used. (5) Properly place mechanical bridge plugs to isolate the hydrocarbonproducing stratum from the expanding cement plug, if the upper-most hydrocarbon-producing stratum is within 300 feet of the base of the lowest mineable coal seam. Nevertheless, the operator will place a minimum of 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) of expanding cement below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater distance base on what is required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. b. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for plugging or replugging oil or gas wells to the surface: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jul 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 (1) Pump expanding cement slurry down the well to form a plug that runs from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam (or lower if required by the DM due to the geological strata, or due to pressure within the well) to the surface. The operator will place the expanding cement in the well under a pressure of at least 200 pounds per square inch. Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture may be used to fill the area from 100 feet above the top of the uppermost mineable coal seam (or higher if required by the DM due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well) to the surface. (2) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 41⁄2inch or larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level with the American Petroleum Institute (API) well number either engraved or welded on the casing. When the hole cannot be marked with a physical monument (e.g., prime farmland), the operator will use high-resolution GPS coordinates (one-half meter resolution) to locate the hole. c. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for plugging or replugging oil and gas wells for subsequent use as degasification boreholes: (1) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping expanding cement slurry down the tubing to provide at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) of expanding cement below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater depth due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. The operator will place the expanding cement in the well under a pressure of at least 200 pounds per square inch and extend the top of the expanding cement at least 100 feet above the top of the coal seam being mined, unless the DM requires a greater distance due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. (2) Securely grout a suitable casing into the bedrock of the upper portion of the degasification well to protect it. The remainder of this well may be cased or uncased. (3) Fit the top of the degasification casing with a wellhead, equipped as required by the DM in the approved ventilation plan. Such equipment may include check valves, shut-in valves, sampling ports, flame arrestor equipment, and security fencing. PO 00000 Frm 00092 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 47435 (4) Operation of the degasification well will be addressed in the approved ventilation plan. This may include periodic tests of methane levels and limits on the minimum methane concentrations that may be extracted. (5) After the area of the coal mine that is degassed by a well is sealed or the coal mine is abandoned, seal the degas holes using the following procedures: (i) Insert a tube to the bottom of the drill hole or, if not possible, to at least 100 feet above the coal seam being mined. Remove any blockage to ensure that the tube is inserted to this depth. (ii) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture down the tubing until the well is filled to the surface. (iii) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 41⁄2inch or larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level with the API well number engraved or welded on the casing. d. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for preparing and plugging or replugging oil or gas wells that cannot be completely cleaned out: (1) Drill a hole adjacent and parallel to the well to a depth of at least 200 feet (or 400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater depth due to the geological strata, or due to pressures within the well. (2) Locate any casing that may remain in the well using a geophysical sensing device. (3) If the well contains casings, drill into the well from the parallel hole and perforate or rip all casings at intervals of at least 5 feet from 10 feet below the coal seam to 10 feet above the coal seam. Beyond that distance, perforate or rip all casings at least every 50 feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam up to 100 feet above the seam being mined, unless the DM requires a greater distance due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. The operator will fill the annulus between the casings and between the casings and the well wall with expanding cement (minimum of 0.5% expansion on setting), and ensure that these areas contain no voids. When multiple casing and tubing strings are present in the coal horizons, rip or perforate any casing that remains and fill with expanding cement. The operator will provide an acceptable casing bond log E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 47436 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 140 / Thursday, July 21, 2016 / Notices for each casing and tubing used in lieu of ripping or perforating multiple strings. (4) Use a horizontal hydraulic fracturing technique to intercept the original well where there is sufficient casing in the well to allow use of the method outlined in paragraph (d)(3) above. Fracture the original well in at least six places from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam to a point at least 50 feet above the seam being mined at intervals to be agreed on by the petitioner and the DM after considering the geological strata and the pressure within the well. The operator will pump expanding cement into the fractured well in sufficient quantities and in a manner that fills all intercepted voids. (5) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbonproducing strata and the location for the bridge plug. The operator will maintain a journal describing; the depth and nature of each material encountered; bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; the length and type of each material used to plug the well; length of casing(s) removed, perforated, ripped, or left in place; and other pertinent information concerning sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request. (6) After the plugging the well, plug the open portions of both holes from the bottom to the surface with Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture. (7) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 41⁄2inch or larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level. e. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures after approval has been granted by the DM to mine through a plugged or replugged well: (1) Prior to cutting-through a plugged well, notify the DM or designee, representative of the miners, and the appropriate State agency in sufficient time for them to have a representative present. (2) Install drivage spads at the last open crosscut near the place to be mined to ensure intersection of the well when mining through wells using continuous mining equipment. The drivage spads will not be more than 50 feet from the well. Install drivage spads on 10-foot centers for a distance of 50 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jul 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 feet in advance of the well when using longwall-mining methods. The drivage spads will also be installed in the headgate. (3) Firefighting equipment, including fire extinguishers, rock dust, and sufficient fire hose to reach the working face area of the mine-through (when either the conventional or continuous mining method is used), will be available and operable during each well mine-through. The operator will locate the fire hose in the last open crosscut of the entry or room and maintain the water line to the belt conveyor tailpiece along with a sufficient amount of fire hose to reach the farthest point of penetration on the section. (4) Keep available at the last open crosscut, a supply of roof support and ventilation materials sufficient to ventilate and support around the well on cut-through. In addition, keep emergency plugs and suitable sealing materials will be available in the immediate area of the well intersection. (5) On the shift prior to mining through the well, all equipment will be serviced and checked for permissibility. Water sprays, water pressures and water flow rates used for dust and spark suppression will be examined and any deficiencies will be corrected. (6) Calibrate the methane monitors on the longwall, continuous mining machine, or cutting machine and loading machine on the shift prior to mining through the well. (7) When mining is in progress, test methane levels with a hand-held methane detector at least every 10 minutes from the time that mining with the continuous mining machine is within 30 feet of the well until the well is intersected and immediately prior to mining through it. No individual is allowed on the return side during the actual cutting process until the minethrough has been completed and the area examined and declared safe. All workplace examinations will be conducted on the return side of the shearer while the shearer is idle. (8) Keep the working place free from accumulations of coal dust and coal spillages, and apply rock dust on the roof, rib, and floor to within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well when using continuous or conventional mining methods. Conduct rock dusting on longwall sections on the roof, rib, and floor up to both the headgate and tailgate gob. (9) When using continuous or conventional mining methods, the working places will be free of accumulations of coal dust and coal spillages, and rock dust will be applied on the roof, rib, and floor to within 20 PO 00000 Frm 00093 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 feet of the face when mining through the well. On longwall sections, rock dusting will be conducted and place on the roof, rib, and floor up to both the headgate and tailgate gob. (10) Deenergize all equipment when the well is intersected and thoroughly examine the place and determine it is safe before resuming mining. After a well has been intersected and the working place determined safe, mining will continue inby the well at a distance sufficient to permit adequate ventilation around the area of the well. (11) If the casing is cut or milled at the coal seam level, the use of torches should not be necessary. In rare instances, torches may be used for inadequately or inaccurately cut or milled casings. No open flame is permitted in the area until adequate ventilation has been established around the wellbore and methane levels are less than 1.0 percent in all areas that will be exposed to flames and sparks from the torch. The operator will apply a thick layer of rock dust to the roof, face, floor, ribs, and any exposed coal within 20 feet of the casing prior to any use of torches. (12) Non-sparking (brass) tools will be located on the working section and will be used to expose and examine cased wells. (13) No person will be permitted in the area of the cut-through operation except those actually engaged in the mining operation, including company personnel, representative of the miners, personnel from MSHA, and personnel from the appropriate State agency. (14) The operator will alert all personnel in the mine to the planned intersection of the well prior to their going underground if the planned intersection is to occur during their shift. This warning will be repeated for all shifts until the well has been mined through. (15) A certified official will directly supervise the cut-through operation and only the certified official in charge will issue instructions concerning the minethrough operation. (16) The responsible person required in 30 CFR 75.1501 will be responsible for well intersection emergencies. The responsible person will review the well intersection procedures prior to any planned intersection. Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved part 48 training plan to the DM. The proposed revisions will include initial and refresher training regarding compliance with the terms and conditions of this petition for modification. The operator will provide E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1 47437 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 140 / Thursday, July 21, 2016 / Notices all miners involved in the mine-through of a well with training regarding the requirements of this petition for modification prior to mining within 150 feet of the next well to be mined through. Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner will submit proposed revisions for its approved mine emergency evacuation and firefighting plan required in 30 CFR 75.1501. The petitioner will revise the plans to include the hazards and evacuation procedures to be used for well intersections. All underground miners will be trained in this revised plan within 30 days of the DM’s approval of the revised evacuation plan. Such training may be done in a weekly safety meeting or other type of appropriate setting. The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure or protection afforded by the existing standard. Sheila McConnell, Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances. [FR Doc. 2016–17173 Filed 7–20–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4520–43–P DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Occupational Safety and Health Administration Agency Information Collection Activities: Announcement of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Control Numbers Under the Paperwork Reduction Act Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor. ACTION: Notice; announcement of the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) approval of information collection requirements. AGENCY: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announces that OMB extended its approval for a number of information collection requirements found in a number of OSHA’s standards and regulations. OSHA sought approval of these requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), and, as required by that Act, is announcing the approval numbers and expiration dates for these requirements and regulations. DATES: This notice is effective July 21, 2016. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Theda Kenney or Todd Owen, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, Occupational Safety and Health SUMMARY: Chloropropane (DBCP) (29 CFR 1,3-Butadiene (29 CFR 1910.1051) ................................ 4,4’-Methylenedianiline (MDA) in Construction (29 CFR 1926.60). Asbestos in Shipyards (29 CFR 1915.1001) .................. Cadmium in General Industry (29 CFR 1910.1027) ....... Commercial Diving Operations (29 CFR part 1910, subpart T). asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) (29 CFR 1910.120). Hexavalent Chromium for General Industry (29 CFR 1910.1026), Shipyard Employment (29 CFR 1915.1026), and Construction (29 CFR 1926.1126). Inorganic Arsenic (29 CFR 1910.1018) .......................... Lead in Construction (29 CFR 1926.62) ......................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jul 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 In a series of Federal Register notices, the Agency announced its requests to OMB to renew its current extensions of approvals for various information collection (paperwork) requirements in its safety and health standards pertaining to general industry, shipyard employment, and the construction industry (i.e., 29 CFR parts 1905, 1910, 1915, 1917, 1918, and 1926), and regulations pertaining to Occupational Safety and Health State Plans, and OSHA Strategic Partnership Program for Worker Safety and Health. In these Federal Register announcements, the Agency provided 60-day comment periods for the public to respond to OSHA’s burden hour and cost estimates. In accord with the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501–3520), OMB approved these information collection requirements. The table below provides the following information for each of these information collection requirements approved by OMB: the title of the Federal Register notice; the Federal Register reference (date, volume, and leading page); OMB’s Control Number; and the new expiration date. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Date of Federal Register publication, Federal Register reference, and OSHA docket No. Title of the information collection request 1,2-Dibromo-3 1910.1044). Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N–3609, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, telephone: (202) 693–2222. PO 00000 OMB control No. May 18, 2015 ................................................................. 80 FR 28300 Docket No. OSHA–2012–0010 October 26, 2015 ........................................................... 80 FR 65246 Docket No. OSHA–2012–0027 December 17, 2015 ........................................................ 80 FR 78773 Docket No. OSHA–2012–0031 May 21, 2015 ................................................................. 80 FR 29344 Docket No. OSHA–2012–0009 June 11, 2015 ................................................................ 80 FR 33293 Docket No. OSHA–2012–0005 April 7, 2015 ................................................................... 80 FR 18647 Docket No. OSHA–2011–0008 August 19, 2015 ............................................................. 80 FR 50325 Docket No. OSHA–2011–0862 December 17, 2015 ........................................................ 80 FR 78775 Docket No. OSHA–2012–0034 January 14, 2015 ........................................................... 80 FR 1970 Docket No. OSHA2011–0186 September 22, 2015 ....................................................... 80 FR 57231 Docket No. OSHA–2012–0014 Frm 00094 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1 Expiration date 1218–0101 .. 12/31/2018 1218–0170 .. 05/31/2019 1218–0183 .. 06/20/2019 1218–0195 .. 03/31/2019 1218–0185 .. 12/31/2018 1218–0069 .. 03/31/2019 1218–0202 .. 03/31/2019 1218–0252 .. 06/30/2019 1218–0104 .. 10/31/2018 1218–0189 .. 04/30/2019

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 140 (Thursday, July 21, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 47422-47437]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-17173]


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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Mine Safety and Health Administration


Petitions for Modification of Application of Existing Mandatory 
Safety Standards

AGENCY: Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: Section 101(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 
1977 and Title 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 44 govern the 
application, processing, and disposition of petitions for modification. 
This notice is a summary of petitions for modification submitted to the 
Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) by the parties listed 
below.

DATES: All comments on the petitions must be received by MSHA's Office 
of Standards, Regulations, and Variances on or before August 22, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit your comments, identified by ``docket 
number'' on the subject line, by any of the following methods:
    1. Electronic Mail: zzMSHA-comments@dol.gov. Include the docket 
number of the petition in the subject line of the message.
    2. Facsimile: 202-693-9441.
    3. Regular Mail or Hand Delivery: MSHA, Office of Standards, 
Regulations, and Variances, 201 12th Street South, Suite 4E401, 
Arlington, Virginia 22202-5452, Attention: Sheila McConnell, Director, 
Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances. Persons delivering 
documents are required to check in at the receptionist's desk in Suite 
4E401. Individuals may inspect copies of the petitions and comments 
during normal business hours at the address listed above.
    MSHA will consider only comments postmarked by the U.S. Postal 
Service or proof of delivery from another delivery service such as UPS 
or Federal Express on or before the deadline for comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barbara Barron, Office of Standards, 
Regulations, and Variances at 202-693-9447 (Voice), 
barron.barbara@dol.gov (Email), or 202-693-9441 (Facsimile). [These are 
not toll-free numbers.]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

 I. Background

    Section 101(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 
(Mine Act) allows the mine operator or representative of miners to file 
a petition to modify the application of any mandatory safety standard 
to a coal or other mine if the Secretary of Labor determines that:
    1. An alternative method of achieving the result of such standard 
exists which will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure 
of protection afforded the miners of such mine by such standard; or
    2. That the application of such standard to such mine will result 
in a diminution of safety to the miners in such mine.

[[Page 47423]]

    In addition, the regulations at 30 CFR 44.10 and 44.11 establish 
the requirements and procedures for filing petitions for modification.

II. Petitions for Modification

    Docket Number: M-2016-015-C.
    Petitioner: Canyon Fuel Company, LLC, HC 35, Box 380, Helper, Utah 
84526.
    Mine: Skyline mine, MSHA I.D. No. 42-01566, located in Carbon 
County, Utah.
    Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.380(d)(4) (Escapeways; bituminous 
and lignite mines).
    Modification Requested: The petitioner requests a modification of 
the existing standard to permit an escapeway to be maintained at least 
4 feet wide where the route of travel passes by conveyor belt 
components. The petitioner states that:
    (1) The standard 6-foot wide walkway specified in 30 CFR 
75.380(d)(4) already allows for exceptions to the 6-foot walkway, 
including where supplemental support is installed and where the 
escapeways pass through doors. When these two situations arise, the 
standard 6-foot walkway is reduced to 4 feet. Conveyor belt components 
such as belt drives, belt storage units and belt transfers may also 
impinge upon the standard 6-foot walkway. The petitioner proposes to:
    (a) Demonstrate that four miners carrying a stretcher could quickly 
traverse an area at the widths proposed in this petition.
    (b) Identify the portions of the alternate escapeway where this 
petition is in effect on the mine map required by 30 CFR 75.372.
    (c) Maintain the full 4-foot width of the escapeway in areas 
affected by this petition free of accumulations of mud, water, and 
other hazards at all times.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at 
all times provide no less than the same measure of protection afford by 
the existing standard.
    Docket Number: M-2016-016-C.
    Petitioner: Marshall County Coal Company, 1 Bridge Street, 
Monongah, West Virginia 26554.
    Mine: Marshall County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-01437, located in 
Marshall County, West Virginia.
    Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1700 (Oil and gas wells).
    Modification Requested: The petitioner requests that the previously 
granted petition for modification be amended for the McElroy Coal 
Company, McElroy Mine, Docket Number M-1988-199-C (now known as the 
Marshall County Coal Company, Marshall County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-
01437). The petitioner states that:
    (1) The large majority of petroleum wells in the Marshall County 
Coal Company Mine were drilled prior to 1930 when no standards for 
drilling and plugging existed. Many wells were abandoned during that 
time.
    (2) Extensive research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, 
Energy Research and Development Administration, MSHA and past 
experience by Consolidation Coal Company has disclosed that certain 
plugging methods can effectively prevent explosive well gases from 
entering the mine during regular mining operations and allow additional 
safety and operational benefits that are not possible under Sec.  
75.1700.
    (3) In lieu of establishing and maintaining barriers around oil and 
gas wells, the petitioner proposes to seal the Pittsburgh Coal Seam 
from the surrounding strata at the affected wells by using technology 
developed through the petitioner's successful well-plugging program. 
Since the inception of the well-plugging program, thousands of 
previously abandoned oil and gas wells have been effectively plugged 
and successfully been mined through or around.
    (4) In lieu of the method of plugging oil and gas wells approved in 
the previously granted petition, the petitioner proposes an alternative 
method that incorporates proven technological advances not available 
for plugging oil and gas wells when the previous petition was granted.
    As an alternative method of compliance with 30 CFR 75.1700, the 
petitioner proposes to maintain a safety barrier of 300 feet in 
diameter (150 feet between any mined area and a well) around all oil 
and gas wells (defined to include all active, inactive, abandoned, 
shut-in, and previously plugged wells, including water injection wells) 
until approval to proceed with mining has been obtained from the 
District Manager (DM).
    Prior to mining through any oil or gas wells, the petitioner will 
provide to the DM a declaration stating that all mandatory procedures 
for cleaning out, preparing, and plugging each gas or oil well have 
been completed. The declaration will be accompanied by logs described 
in this petition and any other records that the DM may request. The DM 
will review the declaration, the logs and any other records that have 
been requested, and may inspect the well, and determine if the operator 
has complied with the procedures for cleaning out, preparing and 
plugging each well. If the DM determines that the procedures have been 
complied with and provides an approval, the operator may then mine 
within the safety barrier of the well according to the terms of the 
Order.
    a. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures when 
cleaning out and preparing oil and gas wells prior to plugging or 
replugging:
    (1) If the total depth of the well is less than 4,000 feet, the 
operator will completely clean out the well from the surface to at 
least 200 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam unless 
the DM requires cleaning to a greater depth based on what is required 
due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. 
If the total depth of the well is 4,000 feet or greater, the operator 
will completely clean out the well from the surface to at least 400 
feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam. The operator will 
remove all material from the entire diameter of well, wall to wall.
    (2) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of 
a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and 
thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbon-producing strata 
and the location for a bridge plug. The DM may approve the use of a 
down-hole camera survey in lieu of down-hole logs. In addition, the 
operator will maintain a journal describing: The depth and nature of 
each material encountered; bit size and type used to drill each portion 
of the hole; length and type of each material used to plug the well; 
the length of casing(s) removed, perforated or ripped, or left in 
place; any sections where casing was cut or milled; and other pertinent 
information concerning cleaning and sealing the well. Invoices, work-
orders, and other records relating to all work on the well will be 
maintained as part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request.
    (3) Remove all of the casing in the well or, if it is not possible 
to remove all of the casing, fill the annulus between the casings and 
between the casings and the well walls with expanding cement (minimum 
0.5 percent expansion on setting) and ensure that these areas contain 
no voids. If the casing cannot be removed, the operator will cut or 
mill it at all mineable coal seam levels and perforate or rip it at 
least every 50 feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well 
depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable 
coal seam up to 100 feet above the uppermost mineable coal seam. If the 
operator can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the DM that all annuli 
in the well are already adequately sealed with cement

[[Page 47424]]

using a casing bond log, then the operator will not be required to 
perforate or rip the casing for that particular well. When multiple 
casing and tubing strings are present in the coal horizon(s), the 
operator will perforate or rip any casing that remains and fill with 
expanding cement and keep an acceptable casing bond log for each casing 
and tubing string used in lieu of ripping or perforating multiple 
strings.
    (4) Place a mechanical bridge plug in the well if a cleaned-out 
well emits excessive amounts of gas. Place the mechanical bridge plug 
in a competent stratum at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well 
depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable 
coal seam, but above the top of the uppermost hydrocarbon-producing 
stratum, unless the DM requires a greater distance based on what is 
required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within 
the well. (The operator will provide the DM with all information it 
possesses concerning the geologic nature of the strata and the pressure 
of the well.) If it is not possible to set a mechanical bridge plug, an 
appropriately sized packer may be used.
    (5) Properly place mechanical bridge plugs to isolate the 
hydrocarbon-producing stratum from the expanding cement plug, if the 
upper-most hydrocarbon-producing stratum is within 300 feet of the base 
of the lowest mineable coal seam. Nevertheless, the operator will place 
a minimum of 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet 
or greater) of expanding cement below the lowest mineable coal seam, 
unless the DM requires a greater distance base on what is required due 
to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well.
    b. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for 
plugging or replugging oil or gas wells to the surface:
    (1) Pump expanding cement slurry down the well to form a plug that 
runs from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 
feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam (or 
lower if required by the DM due to the geological strata, or due to 
pressure within the well) to the surface. The operator will place the 
expanding cement in the well under a pressure of at least 200 pounds 
per square inch. Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture may be 
used to fill the area from 100 feet above the top of the uppermost 
mineable coal seam (or higher if required by the DM due to the 
geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well) to the 
surface.
    (2) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the 
top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic 
monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 4\1/2\-inch or 
larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level 
with the American Petroleum Institute (API) well number either engraved 
or welded on the casing. When the hole cannot be marked with a physical 
monument (e.g., prime farmland), the operator will use high-resolution 
GPS coordinates (one-half meter resolution) to locate the hole.
    c. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for 
plugging or replugging oil and gas wells for subsequent use as 
degasification boreholes:
    (1) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping expanding cement 
slurry down the tubing to provide at least 200 feet (400 feet if the 
total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) of expanding cement below 
the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater depth 
due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. 
The operator will place the expanding cement in the well under a 
pressure of at least 200 pounds per square inch, and extend the top of 
the expanding cement at least 100 feet above the top of the coal seam 
being mined, unless the DM requires a greater distance due to the 
geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well.
    (2) Securely grout a suitable casing into the bedrock of the upper 
portion of the degasification well to protect it. The remainder of this 
well may be cased or uncased.
    (3) Fit the top of the degasification casing with a wellhead, 
equipped as required by the DM in the approved ventilation plan. Such 
equipment may include check valves, shut-in valves, sampling ports, 
flame arrestor equipment, and security fencing.
    (4) Operation of the degasification well will be addressed in the 
approved ventilation plan. This may include periodic tests of methane 
levels and limits on the minimum methane concentrations that may be 
extracted.
    (5) After the area of the coal mine that is degassed by a well is 
sealed or the coal mine is abandoned, seal the degas holes using the 
following procedures:
    (i) Insert a tube to the bottom of the drill hole or, if not 
possible, to at least 100 feet above the coal seam being mined. Remove 
any blockage to ensure that the tube is inserted to this depth.
    (ii) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping Portland cement or a 
lightweight cement mixture down the tubing until the well is filled to 
the surface.
    (iii) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the 
top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic 
monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 4\1/2\-inch or 
larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level 
with the API well number engraved or welded on the casing.
    d. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for 
preparing and plugging or replugging oil or gas wells that cannot be 
completely cleaned out:
    (1) Drill a hole adjacent and parallel to the well to a depth of at 
least 200 feet (or 400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or 
greater) below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a 
greater depth due to the geological strata, or due to pressures within 
the well.
    (2) Locate any casing that may remain in the well using a 
geophysical sensing device.
    (3) If the well contains casings, drill into the well from the 
parallel hole and perforate or rip all casings at intervals of at least 
5 feet from 10 feet below the coal seam to 10 feet above the coal seam. 
Beyond that distance, perforate or rip all casings at least every 50 
feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 
feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam up to 
100 feet above the seam being mined, unless the DM requires a greater 
distance due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within 
the well. The operator will fill the annulus between the casings and 
between the casings and the well wall with expanding cement (minimum of 
0.5% expansion on setting), and ensure that these areas contain no 
voids. When multiple casing and tubing strings are present in the coal 
horizons, rip or perforate any casing that remains and fill with 
expanding cement. The operator will provide an acceptable casing bond 
log for each casing and tubing used in lieu of ripping or perforating 
multiple strings.
    (4) Use a horizontal hydraulic fracturing technique to intercept 
the original well where there is insufficient casing in the well to 
allow use of the method outlined in paragraph (d)(3) above. Fracture 
the original well in at least six places from at least 200 feet (400 
feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base 
of the lowest mineable coal seam to a point at least 50 feet above the 
seam being mined at intervals to be agreed on by the petitioner and the 
DM after considering the geological strata and the pressure within the 
well. The operator will pump

[[Page 47425]]

expanding cement into the fractured well in sufficient quantities and 
in a manner that fills all intercepted voids.
    (5) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of 
a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and 
thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbon-producing strata 
and the location for the bridge plug. The operator will maintain a 
journal describing: The depth and nature of each material encountered; 
bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; the length 
and type of each material used to plug the well; length of casing(s) 
removed, perforated, ripped, or left in place; and other pertinent 
information concerning sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and 
other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as 
part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request.
    (6) After the plugging the well, plug the open portions of both 
holes from the bottom to the surface with Portland cement or a 
lightweight cement mixture.
    (7) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the 
top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic 
monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 4\1/2\-inch or 
larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground 
level.
    e. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures after 
approval has been granted by the DM to mine through a plugged or 
replugged well:
    (1) Prior to cutting-through a plugged well, notify the DM or 
designee, representative of the miners, and the appropriate State 
agency in sufficient time for them to have a representative present.
    (2) Install drivage spads at the last open crosscut near the place 
to be mined to ensure intersection of the well when mining through 
wells using continuous mining equipment. The drivage spads will not be 
more than 50 feet from the well. Install drivage spads on 10-foot 
centers for a distance of 50 feet in advance of the well when using 
longwall-mining methods. The drivage spads will also be installed in 
the headgate.
    (3) Firefighting equipment, including fire extinguishers, rock 
dust, and sufficient fire hose to reach the working face area of the 
mine-through (when either the conventional or continuous mining method 
is used), will be available and operable during each well mine-through. 
The operator will locate the fire hose in the last open crosscut of the 
entry or room and maintain the water line to the belt conveyor 
tailpiece along with a sufficient amount of fire hose to reach the 
farthest point of penetration on the section.
    (4) Keep available at the last open crosscut, a supply of roof 
support and ventilation materials sufficient to ventilate and support 
around the well on cut-through. In addition, keep emergency plugs and 
suitable sealing materials will be available in the immediate area of 
the well intersection.
    (5) On the shift prior to mining through the well, all equipment 
will be serviced and checked for permissibility. Water sprays, water 
pressures and water flow rates used for dust and spark suppression will 
be examined and any deficiencies will be corrected.
    (6) Calibrate the methane monitors on the longwall, continuous 
mining machine, or cutting machine and loading machine on the shift 
prior to mining through the well.
    (7) When mining is in progress, test methane levels with a hand-
held methane detector at least every 10 minutes from the time that 
mining with the continuous mining machine is within 30 feet of the well 
until the well is intersected and immediately prior to mining through 
it. No individual is allowed on the return side during the actual 
cutting process until the mine-through has been completed and the area 
examined and declared safe. All workplace examinations will be 
conducted on the return side of the shearer while the shearer is idle.
    (8) Keep the working place free from accumulations of coal dust and 
coal spillages, and apply rock dust on the roof, rib, and floor to 
within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well when using 
continuous or conventional mining methods. Conduct rock dusting on 
longwall sections on the roof, rib, and floor up to both the headgate 
and tailgate gob.
    (9) When using continuous or conventional mining methods, the 
working places will be free of accumulations of coal dust and coal 
spillages, and rock dust will be applied on the roof, rib, and floor to 
within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well. On longwall 
sections, rock dusting will be conducted and place on the roof, rib, 
and floor up to both the headgate and tailgate gob.
    (10) Deenergize all equipment when the well is intersected and 
thoroughly examine the place and determine it is safe before resuming 
mining. After a well has been intersected and the working place 
determined safe, mining will continue inby the well at a distance 
sufficient to permit adequate ventilation around the area of the well.
    (11) If the casing is cut or milled at the coal seam level, the use 
of torches should not be necessary. In rare instances, torches may be 
used for inadequately or inaccurately cut or milled casings. No open 
flame is permitted in the area until adequate ventilation has been 
established around the wellbore and methane levels are less than 1.0 
percent in all areas that will be exposed to flames and sparks from the 
torch. The operator will apply a thick layer of rock dust to the roof, 
face, floor, ribs, and any exposed coal within 20 feet of the casing 
prior to any use of torches.
    (12) Non-sparking (brass) tools will be located on the working 
section and will be used to expose and examine cased wells.
    (13) No person will be permitted in the area of the cut-through 
operation except those actually engaged in the mining operation, 
including company personnel, representative of the miners, personnel 
from MSHA, and personnel from the appropriate State agency.
    (14) The operator will alert all personnel in the mine to the 
planned intersection of the well prior to their going underground if 
the planned intersection is to occur during their shift. This warning 
will be repeated for all shifts until the well has been mined through.
    (15) A certified official will directly supervise the cut-through 
operation and only the certified official in charge will issue 
instructions concerning the mine-through operation.
    (16) The responsible person required in 30 CFR 75.1501 will be 
responsible for well intersection emergencies. The responsible person 
will review the well intersection procedures prior to any planned 
intersection.
    Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner 
will submit proposed revisions for its approved part 48 training plan 
to the DM. The proposed revisions will include initial and refresher 
training regarding compliance with the terms and conditions of this 
petition for modification. The operator will provide all miners 
involved in the mine-through of a well with training regarding the 
requirements of this petition for modification prior to mining within 
150 feet of the next well to be mined through.
    Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner 
will submit proposed revisions for its approved mine emergency 
evacuation and firefighting plan required in 30 CFR 75.1501. The 
petitioner will revise the plans to include the hazards and evacuation 
procedures to be used for well intersections. All underground miners 
will be trained in this revised plan within 30 days of the DM's 
approval of the revised evacuation plan.

[[Page 47426]]

Such training may be done in a weekly safety meeting or other type of 
appropriate setting.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at 
all times guarantee no less than the same measure or protection 
afforded by the existing standard.
    Docket Number: M-2016-017-C.
    Petitioner: The Marion County Coal Company, 1 Bridge Street, 
Monongah, West Virginia 26554.
    Mine: Marion County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-01433, located in Marion 
County, West Virginia.
    Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1700 (Oil and gas wells).
    Modification Requested: The petitioner requests that the previously 
granted petition for modification be amended for the Consolidation Coal 
Company, Loveridge Mine, Docket Number M-1990-156-C (now known as the 
Marion County Coal Company, Marion County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-
01433). The petitioner states that:
    (1) The large majority of petroleum wells in the Marion County Coal 
Company Mine were drilled prior to 1930 when no standards for drilling 
and plugging existed. Many wells were abandoned during that time.
    (2) Extensive research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, 
Energy Research and Development Administration, MSHA and past 
experience by Consolidation Coal Company has disclosed that certain 
plugging methods can effectively prevent explosive well gases from 
entering the mine during regular mining operations and allow additional 
safety and operational benefits that are not possible under Sec.  
75.1700.
    (3) In lieu of establishing and maintaining barriers around oil and 
gas wells, the petitioner proposes to seal the Pittsburgh Coal Seam 
from the surrounding strata at the affected wells by using technology 
developed through the petitioner's successful well-plugging program. 
Since the inception of the well-plugging program, thousands of 
previously abandoned oil and gas wells have been effectively plugged 
and successfully been mined through or around.
    (4) In lieu of the method of plugging oil and gas wells approved in 
the previously granted petition, the petitioner proposes an alternative 
method that incorporates proven technological advances not available 
for plugging oil and gas wells when the previous petition was granted.
    As an alternative method of compliance with 30 CFR 75.1700, the 
petitioner proposes to maintain a safety barrier of 300 feet in 
diameter (150 feet between any mined area and a well) around all oil 
and gas wells (defined to include all active, inactive, abandoned, 
shut-in, and previously plugged wells, including water injection wells) 
until approval to proceed with mining has been obtained from the 
District Manager (DM).
    Prior to mining through any oil or gas wells, the petitioner will 
provide to the DM a declaration stating that all mandatory procedures 
for cleaning out, preparing, and plugging each gas or oil well have 
been completed. The declaration will be accompanied by logs described 
in this petition and any other records that the DM may request. The DM 
will review the declaration, the logs and any other records that have 
been requested, and may inspect the well, and will then determine if 
the operator has complied with the procedures for cleaning out, 
preparing and plugging each well. If the DM determines that the 
procedures have been complied with and provides an approval, the 
operator may then mine within the safety barrier of the well according 
to the terms of the Order.
    a. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures when 
cleaning out and preparing oil and gas wells prior to plugging or 
replugging:
    (1) If the total depth of the well is less than 4,000 feet, the 
operator will completely clean out the well from the surface to at 
least 200 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam unless 
the DM requires cleaning to a greater depth based on what is required 
due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. 
If the total depth of the well is 4,000 feet or greater, the operator 
will completely clean out the well from the surface to at least 400 
feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam. The operator will 
remove all material from the entire diameter of well, wall to wall.
    (2) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of 
a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and 
thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbon-producing strata 
and the location for a bridge plug. The DM may approve the use of a 
down-hole camera survey in lieu of down-hole logs. In addition, 
maintain a journal describing: The depth and nature of each material 
encountered; bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; 
length and type of each material used to plug the well; the length of 
casing(s) removed, perforated or ripped, or left in place; any sections 
where casing was cut or milled; and other pertinent information 
concerning cleaning and sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and 
other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as 
part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request.
    (3) Remove all of the casing in the well or, if it is not possible 
to remove all of the casing, fill the annulus between the casings and 
between the casings and the well walls with expanding cement (minimum 
0.5 percent expansion on setting) and ensure that these areas contain 
no voids. If the casing cannot be removed, the operator will cut or 
mill it at all mineable coal seam levels and perforate or rip it at 
least every 50 feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well 
depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable 
coal seam up to 100 feet above the uppermost mineable coal seam. If the 
operator can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the DM that all annuli 
in the well are already adequately sealed with cement using a casing 
bond log, then the operator will not be required to perforate or rip 
the casing for that particular well. When multiple casing and tubing 
strings are present in the coal horizon(s), the operator will perforate 
or rip any casing that remains and fill with expanding cement and keep 
an acceptable casing bond log for each casing and tubing string used in 
lieu of ripping or perforating multiple strings.
    (4) Place a mechanical bridge plug in the well if a cleaned-out 
well emits excessive amounts of gas. Place the mechanical bridge plug 
in a competent stratum at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well 
depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable 
coal seam, but above the top of the uppermost hydrocarbon-producing 
stratum, unless the DM requires a greater distance based on what is 
required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within 
the well. (The operator will provide the DM with all information it 
possesses concerning the geologic nature of the strata and the pressure 
of the well.) If it is not possible to set a mechanical bridge plug, an 
appropriately sized packer may be used.
    (5) Properly place mechanical bridge plugs to isolate the 
hydrocarbon-producing stratum from the expanding cement plug, if the 
upper-most hydrocarbon-producing stratum is within 300 feet of the base 
of the lowest mineable coal seam. Nevertheless, the operator will place 
a minimum of 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet 
or greater) of expanding cement below the lowest mineable coal seam, 
unless the DM requires a greater distance base on what is required due 
to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well.

[[Page 47427]]

    b. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for 
plugging or replugging oil or gas wells to the surface:
    (1) Pump expanding cement slurry down the well to form a plug that 
runs from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 
feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam (or 
lower if required by the DM due to the geological strata, or due to 
pressure within the well) to the surface. The operator will place the 
expanding cement in the well under a pressure of at least 200 pounds 
per square inch. Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture may be 
used to fill the area from 100 feet above the top of the uppermost 
mineable coal seam (or higher if required by the DM due to the 
geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well) to the 
surface.
    (2) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the 
top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic 
monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 4\1/2\-inch or 
larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level 
with the American Petroleum Institute (API) well number either engraved 
or welded on the casing. When the hole cannot be marked with a physical 
monument (e.g., prime farmland), the operator will use high-resolution 
GPS coordinates (one-half meter resolution) to locate the hole.
    c. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for 
plugging or replugging oil and gas wells for subsequent use as 
degasification boreholes:
    (1) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping expanding cement 
slurry down the tubing to provide at least 200 feet (400 feet if the 
total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) of expanding cement below 
the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater depth 
due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. 
The operator will place the expanding cement in the well under a 
pressure of at least 200 pounds per square inch and extend the top of 
the expanding cement at least 100 feet above the top of the coal seam 
being mined, unless the DM requires a greater distance due to the 
geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well.
    (2) Securely grout a suitable casing into the bedrock of the upper 
portion of the degasification well to protect it. The remainder of this 
well may be cased or uncased.
    (3) Fit the top of the degasification casing with a wellhead, 
equipped as required by the DM in the approved ventilation plan. Such 
equipment may include check valves, shut-in valves, sampling ports, 
flame arrestor equipment, and security fencing.
    (4) Operation of the degasification well will be addressed in the 
approved ventilation plan. This may include periodic tests of methane 
levels and limits on the minimum methane concentrations that may be 
extracted.
    (5) After the area of the coal mine that is degassed by a well is 
sealed or the coal mine is abandoned, seal the degas holes using the 
following procedures:
    (i) Insert a tube to the bottom of the drill hole or, if not 
possible, to at least 100 feet above the coal seam being mined. Remove 
any blockage to ensure that the tube is inserted to this depth.
    (ii) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping Portland cement or a 
lightweight cement mixture down the tubing until the well is filled to 
the surface.
    (iii) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the 
top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic 
monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 4\1/2\-inch or 
larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level 
with the API well number engraved or welded on the casing.
    d. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for 
preparing and plugging or replugging oil or gas wells that cannot be 
completely cleaned out:
    (1) Drill a hole adjacent and parallel to the well to a depth of at 
least 200 feet (or 400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or 
greater) below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a 
greater depth due to the geological strata, or due to pressures within 
the well.
    (2) Locate any casing that may remain in the well using a 
geophysical sensing device.
    (3) If the well contains casings, drill into the well from the 
parallel hole and perforate or rip all casings at intervals of at least 
5 feet from 10 feet below the coal seam to 10 feet above the coal seam. 
Beyond that distance, perforate or rip all casings at least every 50 
feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 
feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam up to 
100 feet above the seam being mined, unless the DM requires a greater 
distance due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within 
the well. The operator will fill the annulus between the casings and 
between the casings and the well wall with expanding cement (minimum of 
0.5% expansion on setting), and ensure that these areas contain no 
voids. When multiple casing and tubing strings are present in the coal 
horizons, rip or perforate any casing that remains and fill with 
expanding cement. The operator will provide an acceptable casing bond 
log for each casing and tubing used in lieu of ripping or perforating 
multiple strings.
    (4) Use a horizontal hydraulic fracturing technique to intercept 
the original well where there is sufficient casing in the well to allow 
use of the method outlined in paragraph (d)(3) above. Fracture the 
original well in at least six places from at least 200 feet (400 feet 
if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the 
lowest mineable coal seam to a point at least 50 feet above the seam 
being mined at intervals to be agreed on by the petitioner and the DM 
after considering the geological strata and the pressure within the 
well. The operator will pump expanding cement into the fractured well 
in sufficient quantities and in a manner that fills all intercepted 
voids.
    (5) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of 
a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and 
thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbon-producing strata 
and the location for the bridge plug. The operator will maintain a 
journal describing; the depth and nature of each material encountered; 
bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; the length 
and type of each material used to plug the well; length of casing(s) 
removed, perforated, ripped, or left in place; and other pertinent 
information concerning sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and 
other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as 
part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request.
    (6) After the plugging the well, plug the open portions of both 
holes from the bottom to the surface with Portland cement or a 
lightweight cement mixture.
    (7) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the 
top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic 
monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 4\1/2\-inch or 
larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground 
level.
    e. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures after 
approval has been granted by the DM to mine through a plugged or 
replugged well:
    (1) Prior to cutting-through a plugged well, notify the DM or 
designee, representative of the miners, and the appropriate State 
agency in sufficient time for them to have a representative present.
    (2) Install drivage spads at the last open crosscut near the place 
to be mined to ensure intersection of the well when mining through 
wells using continuous mining equipment. The

[[Page 47428]]

drivage spads will not be more than 50 feet from the well. Install 
drivage spads on 10-foot centers for a distance of 50 feet in advance 
of the well when using longwall-mining methods. The drivage spads will 
also be installed in the headgate.
    (3) Firefighting equipment, including fire extinguishers, rock 
dust, and sufficient fire hose to reach the working face area of the 
mine-through (when either the conventional or continuous mining method 
is used), will be available and operable during each well mine-through. 
The operator will locate the fire hose in the last open crosscut of the 
entry or room and maintain the water line to the belt conveyor 
tailpiece along with a sufficient amount of fire hose to reach the 
farthest point of penetration on the section.
    (4) Keep available at the last open crosscut, a supply of roof 
support and ventilation materials sufficient to ventilate and support 
around the well on cut-through. In addition, keep emergency plugs and 
suitable sealing materials will be available in the immediate area of 
the well intersection.
    (5) On the shift prior to mining through the well, all equipment 
will be serviced and checked for permissibility. Water sprays, water 
pressures and water flow rates used for dust and spark suppression will 
be examined and any deficiencies will be corrected.
    (6) Calibrate the methane monitors on the longwall, continuous 
mining machine, or cutting machine and loading machine on the shift 
prior to mining through the well.
    (7) When mining is in progress, test methane levels with a hand-
held methane detector at least every 10 minutes from the time that 
mining with the continuous mining machine is within 30 feet of the well 
until the well is intersected and immediately prior to mining through 
it. No individual is allowed on the return side during the actual 
cutting process until the mine-through has been completed and the area 
examined and declared safe. All workplace examinations will be 
conducted on the return side of the shearer while the shearer is idle.
    (8) Keep the working place free from accumulations of coal dust and 
coal spillages, and apply rock dust on the roof, rib, and floor to 
within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well when using 
continuous or conventional mining methods. Conduct rock dusting on 
longwall sections on the roof, rib, and floor up to both the headgate 
and tailgate gob.
    (9) When using continuous or conventional mining methods, the 
working places will be free of accumulations of coal dust and coal 
spillages, and rock dust will be applied on the roof, rib, and floor to 
within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well. On longwall 
sections, rock dusting will be conducted and place on the roof, rib, 
and floor up to both the headgate and tailgate gob.
    (10) Deenergize all equipment when the well is intersected and 
thoroughly examine the place and determine it is safe before resuming 
mining. After a well has been intersected and the working place 
determined safe, mining will continue inby the well at a distance 
sufficient to permit adequate ventilation around the area of the well.
    (11) If the casing is cut or milled at the coal seam level, the use 
of torches should not be necessary. In rare instances, torches may be 
used for inadequately or inaccurately cut or milled casings. No open 
flame is permitted in the area until adequate ventilation has been 
established around the wellbore and methane levels are less than 1.0 
percent in all areas that will be exposed to flames and sparks from the 
torch. The operator will apply a thick layer of rock dust to the roof, 
face, floor, ribs, and any exposed coal within 20 feet of the casing 
prior to any use of torches.
    (12) Non-sparking (brass) tools will be located on the working 
section and will be used to expose and examine cased wells.
    (13) No person will be permitted in the area of the cut-through 
operation except those actually engaged in the mining operation, 
including company personnel, representative of the miners, personnel 
from MSHA, and personnel from the appropriate State agency.
    (14) The operator will alert all personnel in the mine to the 
planned intersection of the well prior to their going underground if 
the planned intersection is to occur during their shift. This warning 
will be repeated for all shifts until the well has been mined through.
    (15) A certified official will directly supervise the cut-through 
operation and only the certified official in charge will issue 
instructions concerning the mine-through operation.
    (16) The responsible person required in 30 CFR 75.1501 will be 
responsible for well intersection emergencies. The responsible person 
will review the well intersection procedures prior to any planned 
intersection.
    Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner 
will submit proposed revisions for its approved part 48 training plan 
to the DM. The proposed revisions will include initial and refresher 
training regarding compliance with the terms and conditions of this 
petition for modification. The operator will provide all miners 
involved in the mine-through of a well with training regarding the 
requirements of this petition for modification prior to mining within 
150 feet of the next well to be mined through.
    Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner 
will submit proposed revisions for its approved mine emergency 
evacuation and firefighting plan required in 30 CFR 75.1501. The 
petitioner will revise the plans to include the hazards and evacuation 
procedures to be used for well intersections. All underground miners 
will be trained in this revised plan within 30 days of the DM's 
approval of the revised evacuation plan. Such training may be done in a 
weekly safety meeting or other type of appropriate setting.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at 
all times guarantee no less than the same measure or protection 
afforded by the existing standard.
    Docket Number: M-2016-018-C.
    Petitioner: The Monongalia County Coal Company, 1 Bridge Street, 
Monongah, West Virginia 26554.
    Mine: Monongalia County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-01968, located in 
Monongalia County, West Virginia.
    Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1700 (Oil and gas wells).
    Modification Requested: The petitioner requests that the previously 
granted petition for modification be amended for the Consolidation Coal 
Company, Blacksville No. 2 Mine, Docket Number M-2001-014-C (now known 
as the Monongalia County Coal Company, Monongalia County Mine, MSHA 
I.D. No. 46-01968). The petitioner states that:
    (1) The large majority of petroleum wells in the Marion County Coal 
Company Mine were drilled prior to 1930 when no standards for drilling 
and plugging existed. Many wells were abandoned during that time.
    (2) Extensive research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, 
Energy Research and Development Administration, MSHA and past 
experience by Consolidation Coal Company has disclosed that certain 
plugging methods can effectively prevent explosive well gases from 
entering the mine during regular mining operations and allow additional 
safety and operational benefits that are not possible under Sec.  
75.1700.
    (3) In lieu of establishing and maintaining barriers around oil and 
gas wells, the petitioner proposes to seal the

[[Page 47429]]

Pittsburgh Coal Seam from the surrounding strata at the affected wells 
by using technology developed through the petitioner's successful well-
plugging program. Since the inception of the well-plugging program, 
thousands of previously abandoned oil and gas wells have been 
effectively plugged and successfully been mined through or around.
    (4) In lieu of the method of plugging oil and gas wells approved in 
the previously granted petition, the petitioner proposes an alternative 
method that incorporates proven technological advances not available 
for plugging oil and gas wells when the previous petition was granted.
    As an alternative method of compliance with 30 CFR 75.1700, the 
petitioner proposes to maintain a safety barrier of 300 feet in 
diameter (150 feet between any mined area and a well) around all oil 
and gas wells (defined to include all active, inactive, abandoned, 
shut-in, and previously plugged wells, including water injection wells) 
until approval to proceed with mining has been obtained from the 
District Manager (DM).
    Prior to mining through any oil or gas wells, the petitioner will 
provide to the DM a declaration stating that all mandatory procedures 
for cleaning out, preparing, and plugging each gas or oil well have 
been completed. The declaration will be accompanied by logs described 
in this petition and any other records that the DM may request. The DM 
will review the declaration, the logs and any other records that have 
been requested, and may inspect the well, and will then determine if 
the operator has complied with the procedures for cleaning out, 
preparing and plugging each well. If the DM determines that the 
procedures have been complied with and provides an approval, the 
operator may then mine within the safety barrier of the well according 
to the terms of the Order.
    a. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures when 
cleaning out and preparing oil and gas wells prior to plugging or 
replugging:
    (1) If the total depth of the well is less than 4,000 feet, the 
operator will completely clean out the well from the surface to at 
least 200 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam unless 
the DM requires cleaning to a greater depth based on what is required 
due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. 
If the total depth of the well is 4,000 feet or greater, the operator 
will completely clean out the well from the surface to at least 400 
feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam. The operator will 
remove all material from the entire diameter of well, wall to wall.
    (2) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of 
a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and 
thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbon-producing strata 
and the location for a bridge plug. The DM may approve the use of a 
down-hole camera survey in lieu of down-hole logs. In addition, 
maintain a journal describing: The depth and nature of each material 
encountered; bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; 
length and type of each material used to plug the well; The length of 
casing(s) removed, perforated or ripped, or left in place; any sections 
where casing was cut or milled; and other pertinent information 
concerning cleaning and sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and 
other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as 
part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request.
    (3) Remove all of the casing in the well or, if it is not possible 
to remove all of the casing, fill the annulus between the casings and 
between the casings and the well walls with expanding cement (minimum 
0.5 percent expansion on setting) and ensure that these areas contain 
no voids. If the casing cannot be removed, the operator will cut or 
mill it at all mineable coal seam levels and perforate or rip it at 
least every 50 feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well 
depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable 
coal seam up to 100 feet above the uppermost mineable coal seam. If the 
operator can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the DM that all annuli 
in the well are already adequately sealed with cement using a casing 
bond log, then the operator will not be required to perforate or rip 
the casing for that particular well. When multiple casing and tubing 
strings are present in the coal horizon(s), the operator will perforate 
or rip any casing that remains and fill with expanding cement and keep 
an acceptable casing bond log for each casing and tubing string used in 
lieu of ripping or perforating multiple strings.
    (4) Place a mechanical bridge plug in the well if a cleaned-out 
well emits excessive amounts of gas. Place the mechanical bridge plug 
in a competent stratum at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well 
depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable 
coal seam, but above the top of the uppermost hydrocarbon-producing 
stratum, unless the DM requires a greater distance based on what is 
required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within 
the well. (The operator will provide the DM with all information it 
possesses concerning the geologic nature of the strata and the pressure 
of the well.) If it is not possible to set a mechanical bridge plug, an 
appropriately sized packer may be used.
    (5) Properly place mechanical bridge plugs to isolate the 
hydrocarbon-producing stratum from the expanding cement plug, if the 
upper-most hydrocarbon-producing stratum is within 300 feet of the base 
of the lowest mineable coal seam. Nevertheless, the operator will place 
a minimum of 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet 
or greater) of expanding cement below the lowest mineable coal seam, 
unless the DM requires a greater distance base on what is required due 
to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well.
    b. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for 
plugging or replugging oil or gas wells to the surface:
    (1) Pump expanding cement slurry down the well to form a plug that 
runs from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 
feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam (or 
lower if required by the DM due to the geological strata, or due to 
pressure within the well) to the surface. The operator will place the 
expanding cement in the well under a pressure of at least 200 pounds 
per square inch. Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture may be 
used to fill the area from 100 feet above the top of the uppermost 
mineable coal seam (or higher if required by the DM due to the 
geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well) to the 
surface.
    (2) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the 
top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic 
monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 4\1/2\-inch or 
larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level 
with the American Petroleum Institute (API) well number either engraved 
or welded on the casing. When the hole cannot be marked with a physical 
monument (e.g., prime farmland), the operator will use high-resolution 
GPS coordinates (one-half meter resolution) to locate the hole.
    c. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for 
plugging or replugging oil and gas wells for subsequent use as 
degasification boreholes:
    (1) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping expanding cement 
slurry down the tubing to provide at least 200 feet (400 feet if the 
total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) of expanding

[[Page 47430]]

cement below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a 
greater depth due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure 
within the well. The operator will place the expanding cement in the 
well under a pressure of at least 200 pounds per square inch and extend 
the top of the expanding cement at least 100 feet above the top of the 
coal seam being mined, unless the DM requires a greater distance due to 
the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well.
    (2) Securely grout a suitable casing into the bedrock of the upper 
portion of the degasification well to protect it. The remainder of this 
well may be cased or uncased.
    (3) Fit the top of the degasification casing with a wellhead, 
equipped as required by the DM in the approved ventilation plan. Such 
equipment may include check valves, shut-in valves, sampling ports, 
flame arrestor equipment, and security fencing.
    (4) Operation of the degasification well will be addressed in the 
approved ventilation plan. This may include periodic tests of methane 
levels and limits on the minimum methane concentrations that may be 
extracted.
    (5) After the area of the coal mine that is degassed by a well is 
sealed or the coal mine is abandoned, seal the degas holes using the 
following procedures:
    (i) Insert a tube to the bottom of the drill hole or, if not 
possible, to at least 100 feet above the coal seam being mined. Remove 
any blockage to ensure that the tube is inserted to this depth.
    (ii) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping Portland cement or a 
lightweight cement mixture down the tubing until the well is filled to 
the surface.
    (iii) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the 
top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic 
monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 4\1/2\-inch or 
larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level 
with the API well number engraved or welded on the casing.
    d. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for 
preparing and plugging or replugging oil or gas wells that cannot be 
completely cleaned out:
    (1) Drill a hole adjacent and parallel to the well to a depth of at 
least 200 feet (or 400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or 
greater) below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a 
greater depth due to the geological strata, or due to pressures within 
the well.
    (2) Locate any casing that may remain in the well using a 
geophysical sensing device.
    (3) If the well contains casings, drill into the well from the 
parallel hole and perforate or rip all casings at intervals of at least 
5 feet from 10 feet below the coal seam to 10 feet above the coal seam. 
Beyond that distance, perforate or rip all casings at least every 50 
feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 
feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam up to 
100 feet above the seam being mined, unless the DM requires a greater 
distance due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within 
the well. The operator will fill the annulus between the casings and 
between the casings and the well wall with expanding cement (minimum of 
0.5% expansion on setting), and ensure that these areas contain no 
voids. When multiple casing and tubing strings are present in the coal 
horizons, rip or perforate any casing that remains and fill with 
expanding cement. The operator will provide an acceptable casing bond 
log for each casing and tubing used in lieu of ripping or perforating 
multiple strings.
    (4) Use a horizontal hydraulic fracturing technique to intercept 
the original well where there is sufficient casing in the well to allow 
use of the method outlined in paragraph (d)(3) above. Fracture the 
original well in at least six places from at least 200 feet (400 feet 
if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the 
lowest mineable coal seam to a point at least 50 feet above the seam 
being mined at intervals to be agreed on by the petitioner and the DM 
after considering the geological strata and the pressure within the 
well. The operator will pump expanding cement into the fractured well 
in sufficient quantities and in a manner that fills all intercepted 
voids.
    (5) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of 
a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and 
thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbon-producing strata 
and the location for the bridge plug. The operator will maintain a 
journal describing; the depth and nature of each material encountered; 
bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; the length 
and type of each material used to plug the well; length of casing(s) 
removed, perforated, ripped, or left in place; and other pertinent 
information concerning sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and 
other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as 
part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request.
    (6) After the plugging the well, plug the open portions of both 
holes from the bottom to the surface with Portland cement or a 
lightweight cement mixture.
    (7) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the 
top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic 
monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 4\1/2\-inch or 
larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground 
level.
    e. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures after 
approval has been granted by the DM to mine through a plugged or 
replugged well:
    (1) Prior to cutting-through a plugged well, notify the DM or 
designee, representative of the miners, and the appropriate State 
agency in sufficient time for them to have a representative present.
    (2) Install drivage spads at the last open crosscut near the place 
to be mined to ensure intersection of the well when mining through 
wells using continuous mining equipment. The drivage spads will not be 
more than 50 feet from the well. Install drivage spads on 10-foot 
centers for a distance of 50 feet in advance of the well when using 
longwall-mining methods. The drivage spads will also be installed in 
the headgate.
    (3) Firefighting equipment, including fire extinguishers, rock 
dust, and sufficient fire hose to reach the working face area of the 
mine-through (when either the conventional or continuous mining method 
is used), will be available and operable during each well mine-through. 
The operator will locate the fire hose in the last open crosscut of the 
entry or room and maintain the water line to the belt conveyor 
tailpiece along with a sufficient amount of fire hose to reach the 
farthest point of penetration on the section.
    (4) Keep available at the last open crosscut, a supply of roof 
support and ventilation materials sufficient to ventilate and support 
around the well on cut-through. In addition, keep emergency plugs and 
suitable sealing materials will be available in the immediate area of 
the well intersection.
    (5) On the shift prior to mining through the well, all equipment 
will be serviced and checked for permissibility. Water sprays, water 
pressures and water flow rates used for dust and spark suppression will 
be examined and any deficiencies will be corrected.
    (6) Calibrate the methane monitors on the longwall, continuous 
mining machine, or cutting machine and loading machine on the shift 
prior to mining through the well.
    (7) When mining is in progress, test methane levels with a hand-
held methane detector at least every 10 minutes from the time that 
mining with the continuous mining machine is within 30 feet of the well 
until the well

[[Page 47431]]

is intersected and immediately prior to mining through it. No 
individual is allowed on the return side during the actual cutting 
process until the mine-through has been completed and the area examined 
and declared safe. All workplace examinations will be conducted on the 
return side of the shearer while the shearer is idle.
    (8) Keep the working place free from accumulations of coal dust and 
coal spillages, and apply rock dust on the roof, rib, and floor to 
within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well when using 
continuous or conventional mining methods. Conduct rock dusting on 
longwall sections on the roof, rib, and floor up to both the headgate 
and tailgate gob.
    (9) When using continuous or conventional mining methods, the 
working places will be free of accumulations of coal dust and coal 
spillages, and rock dust will be applied on the roof, rib, and floor to 
within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well. On longwall 
sections, rock dusting will be conducted and place on the roof, rib, 
and floor up to both the headgate and tailgate gob.
    (10) Deenergize all equipment when the well is intersected and 
thoroughly examine the place and determine it is safe before resuming 
mining. After a well has been intersected and the working place 
determined safe, mining will continue inby the well at a distance 
sufficient to permit adequate ventilation around the area of the well.
    (11) If the casing is cut or milled at the coal seam level, the use 
of torches should not be necessary. In rare instances, torches may be 
used for inadequately or inaccurately cut or milled casings. No open 
flame is permitted in the area until adequate ventilation has been 
established around the wellbore and methane levels are less than 1.0 
percent in all areas that will be exposed to flames and sparks from the 
torch. The operator will apply a thick layer of rock dust to the roof, 
face, floor, ribs, and any exposed coal within 20 feet of the casing 
prior to any use of torches.
    (12) Non-sparking (brass) tools will be located on the working 
section and will be used to expose and examine cased wells.
    (13) No person will be permitted in the area of the cut-through 
operation except those actually engaged in the mining operation, 
including company personnel, representative of the miners, personnel 
from MSHA, and personnel from the appropriate State agency.
    (14) The operator will alert all personnel in the mine to the 
planned intersection of the well prior to their going underground if 
the planned intersection is to occur during their shift. This warning 
will be repeated for all shifts until the well has been mined through.
    (15) A certified official will directly supervise the cut-through 
operation and only the certified official in charge will issue 
instructions concerning the mine-through operation.
    (16) The responsible person required in 30 CFR 75.1501 will be 
responsible for well intersection emergencies. The responsible person 
will review the well intersection procedures prior to any planned 
intersection.
    Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner 
will submit proposed revisions for its approved part 48 training plan 
to the DM. The proposed revisions will include initial and refresher 
training regarding compliance with the terms and conditions of this 
petition for modification. The operator will provide all miners 
involved in the mine-through of a well with training regarding the 
requirements of this petition for modification prior to mining within 
150 feet of the next well to be mined through.
    Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner 
will submit proposed revisions for its approved mine emergency 
evacuation and firefighting plan required in 30 CFR 75.1501. The 
petitioner will revise the plans to include the hazards and evacuation 
procedures to be used for well intersections. All underground miners 
will be trained in this revised plan within 30 days of the DM's 
approval of the revised evacuation plan. Such training may be done in a 
weekly safety meeting or other type of appropriate setting.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at 
all times guarantee no less than the same measure or protection 
afforded by the existing standard.
    Docket Number: M-2016-019-C.
    Petitioner: The Harrison County Coal Company, 1 Bridge Street, 
Monongah, West Virginia 26554.
    Mine: Harrison County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-01318, located in 
Marion County, West Virginia.
    Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1700 (Oil and gas wells).
    Modification Requested: The petitioner requests that the previously 
granted petition for modification be amended for the Consolidation Coal 
Company, Robinson Run Mine, Docket Number M-2001-015-C (now known as 
the Harrison County Coal Company, Harrison County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 
46-01318). The petitioner states that:
    (1) The large majority of petroleum wells in the Marion County Coal 
Company Mine were drilled prior to 1930 when no standards for drilling 
and plugging existed. Many wells were abandoned during that time.
    (2) Extensive research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, 
Energy Research and Development Administration, MSHA and past 
experience by Consolidation Coal Company has disclosed that certain 
plugging methods can effectively prevent explosive well gases from 
entering the mine during regular mining operations and allow additional 
safety and operational benefits that are not possible under Sec.  
75.1700.
    (3) In lieu of establishing and maintaining barriers around oil and 
gas wells, the petitioner proposes to seal the Pittsburgh Coal Seam 
from the surrounding strata at the affected wells by using technology 
developed through the petitioner's successful well-plugging program. 
Since the inception of the well-plugging program, thousands of 
previously abandoned oil and gas wells have been effectively plugged 
and successfully been mined through or around.
    (4) In lieu of the method of plugging oil and gas wells approved in 
the previously granted petition, the petitioner proposes an alternative 
method that incorporates proven technological advances not available 
for plugging oil and gas wells when the previous petition was granted.
    As an alternative method of compliance with 30 CFR 75.1700, the 
petitioner proposes to maintain a safety barrier of 300 feet in 
diameter (150 feet between any mined area and a well) around all oil 
and gas wells (defined to include all active, inactive, abandoned, 
shut-in, and previously plugged wells, including water injection wells) 
until approval to proceed with mining has been obtained from the 
District Manager (DM).
    Prior to mining through any oil or gas wells, the petitioner will 
provide to the DM a declaration stating that all mandatory procedures 
for cleaning out, preparing, and plugging each gas or oil well have 
been completed. The declaration will be accompanied by logs described 
in this petition and any other records that the DM may request. The DM 
will review the declaration, the logs and any other records that have 
been requested, and may inspect the well, and will then determine if 
the operator has complied with the procedures for cleaning out, 
preparing and plugging each well. If the DM determines that the 
procedures have been complied with and provides an approval, the 
operator

[[Page 47432]]

may then mine within the safety barrier of the well according to the 
terms of the Order.
    a. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures when 
cleaning out and preparing oil and gas wells prior to plugging or 
replugging:
    (1) If the total depth of the well is less than 4,000 feet, the 
operator will completely clean out the well from the surface to at 
least 200 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam unless 
the DM requires cleaning to a greater depth based on what is required 
due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. 
If the total depth of the well is 4,000 feet or greater, the operator 
will completely clean out the well from the surface to at least 400 
feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam. The operator will 
remove all material from the entire diameter of well, wall to wall.
    (2) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of 
a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and 
thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbon-producing strata 
and the location for a bridge plug. The DM may approve the use of a 
down-hole camera survey in lieu of down-hole logs. In addition, 
maintain a journal describing: The depth and nature of each material 
encountered; bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; 
length and type of each material used to plug the well; the length of 
casing(s) removed, perforated or ripped, or left in place; any sections 
where casing was cut or milled; and other pertinent information 
concerning cleaning and sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and 
other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as 
part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request.
    (3) Remove all of the casing in the well or, if it is not possible 
to remove all of the casing, fill the annulus between the casings and 
between the casings and the well walls with expanding cement (minimum 
0.5 percent expansion on setting) and ensure that these areas contain 
no voids. If the casing cannot be removed, the operator will cut or 
mill it at all mineable coal seam levels and perforate or rip it at 
least every 50 feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well 
depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable 
coal seam up to 100 feet above the uppermost mineable coal seam. If the 
operator can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the DM that all annuli 
in the well are already adequately sealed with cement using a casing 
bond log, then the operator will not be required to perforate or rip 
the casing for that particular well. When multiple casing and tubing 
strings are present in the coal horizon(s), the operator will perforate 
or rip any casing that remains and fill with expanding cement and keep 
an acceptable casing bond log for each casing and tubing string used in 
lieu of ripping or perforating multiple strings.
    (4) Place a mechanical bridge plug in the well if a cleaned-out 
well emits excessive amounts of gas. Place the mechanical bridge plug 
in a competent stratum at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well 
depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable 
coal seam, but above the top of the uppermost hydrocarbon-producing 
stratum, unless the DM requires a greater distance based on what is 
required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within 
the well. (The operator will provide the DM with all information it 
possesses concerning the geologic nature of the strata and the pressure 
of the well.) If it is not possible to set a mechanical bridge plug, an 
appropriately sized packer may be used.
    (5) Properly place mechanical bridge plugs to isolate the 
hydrocarbon-producing stratum from the expanding cement plug, if the 
upper-most hydrocarbon-producing stratum is within 300 feet of the base 
of the lowest mineable coal seam. Nevertheless, the operator will place 
a minimum of 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet 
or greater) of expanding cement below the lowest mineable coal seam, 
unless the DM requires a greater distance base on what is required due 
to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well.
    b. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for 
plugging or replugging oil or gas wells to the surface:
    (1) Pump expanding cement slurry down the well to form a plug that 
runs from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 
feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam (or 
lower if required by the DM due to the geological strata, or due to 
pressure within the well) to the surface. The operator will place the 
expanding cement in the well under a pressure of at least 200 pounds 
per square inch. Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture may be 
used to fill the area from 100 feet above the top of the uppermost 
mineable coal seam (or higher if required by the DM due to the 
geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well) to the 
surface.
    (2) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the 
top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic 
monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 4\1/2\-inch or 
larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level 
with the American Petroleum Institute (API) well number either engraved 
or welded on the casing. When the hole cannot be marked with a physical 
monument (e.g., prime farmland), the operator will use high-resolution 
GPS coordinates (one-half meter resolution) to locate the hole.
    c. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for 
plugging or replugging oil and gas wells for subsequent use as 
degasification boreholes:
    (1) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping expanding cement 
slurry down the tubing to provide at least 200 feet (400 feet if the 
total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) of expanding cement below 
the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater depth 
due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. 
The operator will place the expanding cement in the well under a 
pressure of at least 200 pounds per square inch and extend the top of 
the expanding cement at least 100 feet above the top of the coal seam 
being mined, unless the DM requires a greater distance due to the 
geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well.
    (2) Securely grout a suitable casing into the bedrock of the upper 
portion of the degasification well to protect it. The remainder of this 
well may be cased or uncased.
    (3) Fit the top of the degasification casing with a wellhead, 
equipped as required by the DM in the approved ventilation plan. Such 
equipment may include check valves, shut-in valves, sampling ports, 
flame arrestor equipment, and security fencing.
    (4) Operation of the degasification well will be addressed in the 
approved ventilation plan. This may include periodic tests of methane 
levels and limits on the minimum methane concentrations that may be 
extracted.
    (5) After the area of the coal mine that is degassed by a well is 
sealed or the coal mine is abandoned, seal the degas holes using the 
following procedures:
    (i) Insert a tube to the bottom of the drill hole or, if not 
possible, to at least 100 feet above the coal seam being mined. Remove 
any blockage to ensure that the tube is inserted to this depth.
    (ii) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping Portland cement or a 
lightweight cement mixture down the tubing until the well is filled to 
the surface.
    (iii) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the 
top of the cement near the surface to serve as

[[Page 47433]]

a permanent magnetic monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 
4\1/2\-inch or larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above 
the ground level with the API well number engraved or welded on the 
casing.
    d. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for 
preparing and plugging or replugging oil or gas wells that cannot be 
completely cleaned out:
    (1) Drill a hole adjacent and parallel to the well to a depth of at 
least 200 feet (or 400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or 
greater) below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a 
greater depth due to the geological strata, or due to pressures within 
the well.
    (2) Locate any casing that may remain in the well using a 
geophysical sensing device.
    (3) If the well contains casings, drill into the well from the 
parallel hole and perforate or rip all casings at intervals of at least 
5 feet from 10 feet below the coal seam to 10 feet above the coal seam. 
Beyond that distance, perforate or rip all casings at least every 50 
feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 
feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam up to 
100 feet above the seam being mined, unless the DM requires a greater 
distance due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within 
the well. The operator will fill the annulus between the casings and 
between the casings and the well wall with expanding cement (minimum of 
0.5% expansion on setting), and ensure that these areas contain no 
voids. When multiple casing and tubing strings are present in the coal 
horizons, rip or perforate any casing that remains and fill with 
expanding cement. The operator will provide an acceptable casing bond 
log for each casing and tubing used in lieu of ripping or perforating 
multiple strings.
    (4) Use a horizontal hydraulic fracturing technique to intercept 
the original well where there is sufficient casing in the well to allow 
use of the method outlined in paragraph (d)(3) above. Fracture the 
original well in at least six places from at least 200 feet (400 feet 
if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the 
lowest mineable coal seam to a point at least 50 feet above the seam 
being mined at intervals to be agreed on by the petitioner and the DM 
after considering the geological strata and the pressure within the 
well. The operator will pump expanding cement into the fractured well 
in sufficient quantities and in a manner that fills all intercepted 
voids.
    (5) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of 
a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and 
thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbon-producing strata 
and the location for the bridge plug. The operator will maintain a 
journal describing; the depth and nature of each material encountered; 
bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; the length 
and type of each material used to plug the well; length of casing(s) 
removed, perforated, ripped, or left in place; and other pertinent 
information concerning sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and 
other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as 
part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request.
    (6) After the plugging the well, plug the open portions of both 
holes from the bottom to the surface with Portland cement or a 
lightweight cement mixture.
    (7) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the 
top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic 
monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 4\1/2\-inch or 
larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground 
level.
    e. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures after 
approval has been granted by the DM to mine through a plugged or 
replugged well:
    (1) Prior to cutting-through a plugged well, notify the DM or 
designee, representative of the miners, and the appropriate State 
agency in sufficient time for them to have a representative present.
    (2) Install drivage spads at the last open crosscut near the place 
to be mined to ensure intersection of the well when mining through 
wells using continuous mining equipment. The drivage spads will not be 
more than 50 feet from the well. Install drivage spads on 10-foot 
centers for a distance of 50 feet in advance of the well when using 
longwall-mining methods. The drivage spads will also be installed in 
the headgate.
    (3) Firefighting equipment, including fire extinguishers, rock 
dust, and sufficient fire hose to reach the working face area of the 
mine-through (when either the conventional or continuous mining method 
is used), will be available and operable during each well mine-through. 
The operator will locate the fire hose in the last open crosscut of the 
entry or room and maintain the water line to the belt conveyor 
tailpiece along with a sufficient amount of fire hose to reach the 
farthest point of penetration on the section.
    (4) Keep available at the last open crosscut, a supply of roof 
support and ventilation materials sufficient to ventilate and support 
around the well on cut-through. In addition, keep emergency plugs and 
suitable sealing materials will be available in the immediate area of 
the well intersection.
    (5) On the shift prior to mining through the well, all equipment 
will be serviced and checked for permissibility. Water sprays, water 
pressures and water flow rates used for dust and spark suppression will 
be examined and any deficiencies will be corrected.
    (6) Calibrate the methane monitors on the longwall, continuous 
mining machine, or cutting machine and loading machine on the shift 
prior to mining through the well.
    (7) When mining is in progress, test methane levels with a hand-
held methane detector at least every 10 minutes from the time that 
mining with the continuous mining machine is within 30 feet of the well 
until the well is intersected and immediately prior to mining through 
it. No individual is allowed on the return side during the actual 
cutting process until the mine-through has been completed and the area 
examined and declared safe. All workplace examinations will be 
conducted on the return side of the shearer while the shearer is idle.
    (8) Keep the working place free from accumulations of coal dust and 
coal spillages, and apply rock dust on the roof, rib, and floor to 
within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well when using 
continuous or conventional mining methods. Conduct rock dusting on 
longwall sections on the roof, rib, and floor up to both the headgate 
and tailgate gob.
    (9) When using continuous or conventional mining methods, the 
working places will be free of accumulations of coal dust and coal 
spillages, and rock dust will be applied on the roof, rib, and floor to 
within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well. On longwall 
sections, rock dusting will be conducted and place on the roof, rib, 
and floor up to both the headgate and tailgate gob.
    (10) Deenergize all equipment when the well is intersected and 
thoroughly examine the place and determine it is safe before resuming 
mining. After a well has been intersected and the working place 
determined safe, mining will continue inby the well at a distance 
sufficient to permit adequate ventilation around the area of the well.
    (11) If the casing is cut or milled at the coal seam level, the use 
of torches should not be necessary. In rare instances, torches may be 
used for inadequately or inaccurately cut or milled casings. No open 
flame is permitted in the area until adequate ventilation has been 
established around the wellbore and methane levels are less

[[Page 47434]]

than 1.0 percent in all areas that will be exposed to flames and sparks 
from the torch. The operator will apply a thick layer of rock dust to 
the roof, face, floor, ribs, and any exposed coal within 20 feet of the 
casing prior to any use of torches.
    (12) Non-sparking (brass) tools will be located on the working 
section and will be used to expose and examine cased wells.
    (13) No person will be permitted in the area of the cut-through 
operation except those actually engaged in the mining operation, 
including company personnel, representative of the miners, personnel 
from MSHA, and personnel from the appropriate State agency.
    (14) The operator will alert all personnel in the mine to the 
planned intersection of the well prior to their going underground if 
the planned intersection is to occur during their shift. This warning 
will be repeated for all shifts until the well has been mined through.
    (15) A certified official will directly supervise the cut-through 
operation and only the certified official in charge will issue 
instructions concerning the mine-through operation.
    (16) The responsible person required in 30 CFR 75.1501 will be 
responsible for well intersection emergencies. The responsible person 
will review the well intersection procedures prior to any planned 
intersection.
    Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner 
will submit proposed revisions for its approved part 48 training plan 
to the DM. The proposed revisions will include initial and refresher 
training regarding compliance with the terms and conditions of this 
petition for modification. The operator will provide all miners 
involved in the mine-through of a well with training regarding the 
requirements of this petition for modification prior to mining within 
150 feet of the next well to be mined through.
    Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner 
will submit proposed revisions for its approved mine emergency 
evacuation and firefighting plan required in 30 CFR 75.1501. The 
petitioner will revise the plans to include the hazards and evacuation 
procedures to be used for well intersections. All underground miners 
will be trained in this revised plan within 30 days of the DM's 
approval of the revised evacuation plan. Such training may be done in a 
weekly safety meeting or other type of appropriate setting.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at 
all times guarantee no less than the same measure or protection 
afforded by the existing standard.
    Docket Number: M-2016-020-C.
    Petitioner: The Ohio County Coal Company, 1 Bridge Street, 
Monongah, West Virginia 26554.
    Mine: Ohio County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-01436, located in Marshall 
County, West Virginia.
    Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1700 (Oil and gas wells).
    Modification Requested: The petitioner requests that the previously 
granted petition for modification be amended for the Consolidation Coal 
Company, Shoemaker Mine, Docket Number M-1990-066-C (now known as the 
Ohio County Coal Company, Ohio County Mine, MSHA I.D. No. 46-01436). 
The petitioner states that:
    (1) The large majority of petroleum wells in the Marion County Coal 
Company Mine were drilled prior to 1930 when no standards for drilling 
and plugging existed. Many wells were abandoned during that time.
    (2) Extensive research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, 
Energy Research and Development Administration, MSHA and past 
experience by Consolidation Coal Company has disclosed that certain 
plugging methods can effectively prevent explosive well gases from 
entering the mine during regular mining operations and allow additional 
safety and operational benefits that are not possible under Sec.  
75.1700.
    (3) In lieu of establishing and maintaining barriers around oil and 
gas wells, the petitioner proposes to seal the Pittsburgh Coal Seam 
from the surrounding strata at the affected wells by using technology 
developed through the petitioner's successful well-plugging program. 
Since the inception of the well-plugging program, thousands of 
previously abandoned oil and gas wells have been effectively plugged 
and successfully been mined through or around.
    (4) In lieu of the method of plugging oil and gas wells approved in 
the previously granted petition, the petitioner proposes an alternative 
method that incorporates proven technological advances not available 
for plugging oil and gas wells when the previous petition was granted.
    As an alternative method of compliance with 30 CFR 75.1700, the 
petitioner proposes to maintain a safety barrier of 300 feet in 
diameter (150 feet between any mined area and a well) around all oil 
and gas wells (defined to include all active, inactive, abandoned, 
shut-in, and previously plugged wells, including water injection wells) 
until approval to proceed with mining has been obtained from the 
District Manager (DM).
    Prior to mining through any oil or gas wells, the petitioner will 
provide to the DM a declaration stating that all mandatory procedures 
for cleaning out, preparing, and plugging each gas or oil well have 
been completed. The declaration will be accompanied by logs described 
in this petition and any other records that the DM may request. The DM 
will review the declaration, the logs and any other records that have 
been requested, and may inspect the well, and will then determine if 
the operator has complied with the procedures for cleaning out, 
preparing and plugging each well. If the DM determines that the 
procedures have been complied with and provides an approval, the 
operator may then mine within the safety barrier of the well according 
to the terms of the Order.
    a. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures when 
cleaning out and preparing oil and gas wells prior to plugging or 
replugging:
    (1) If the total depth of the well is less than 4,000 feet, the 
operator will completely clean out the well from the surface to at 
least 200 feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam unless 
the DM requires cleaning to a greater depth based on what is required 
due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. 
If the total depth of the well is 4,000 feet or greater, the operator 
will completely clean out the well from the surface to at least 400 
feet below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam. The operator will 
remove all material from the entire diameter of well, wall to wall.
    (2) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of 
a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and 
thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbon-producing strata 
and the location for a bridge plug. The DM may approve the use of a 
down-hole camera survey in lieu of down-hole logs. In addition, 
maintain a journal describing: The depth and nature of each material 
encountered; bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; 
length and type of each material used to plug the well; the length of 
casing(s) removed, perforated or ripped, or left in place; any sections 
where casing was cut or milled; and other pertinent information 
concerning cleaning and sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and 
other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as 
part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request.
    (3) Remove all of the casing in the well or, if it is not possible 
to remove

[[Page 47435]]

all of the casing, fill the annulus between the casings and between the 
casings and the well walls with expanding cement (minimum 0.5 percent 
expansion on setting) and ensure that these areas contain no voids. If 
the casing cannot be removed, the operator will cut or mill it at all 
mineable coal seam levels and perforate or rip it at least every 50 
feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 
feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam up to 
100 feet above the uppermost mineable coal seam. If the operator can 
demonstrate to the satisfaction of the DM that all annuli in the well 
are already adequately sealed with cement using a casing bond log, then 
the operator will not be required to perforate or rip the casing for 
that particular well. When multiple casing and tubing strings are 
present in the coal horizon(s), the operator will perforate or rip any 
casing that remains and fill with expanding cement and keep an 
acceptable casing bond log for each casing and tubing string used in 
lieu of ripping or perforating multiple strings.
    (4) Place a mechanical bridge plug in the well if a cleaned-out 
well emits excessive amounts of gas. Place the mechanical bridge plug 
in a competent stratum at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well 
depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable 
coal seam, but above the top of the uppermost hydrocarbon-producing 
stratum, unless the DM requires a greater distance based on what is 
required due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within 
the well. (The operator will provide the DM with all information it 
possesses concerning the geologic nature of the strata and the pressure 
of the well.) If it is not possible to set a mechanical bridge plug, an 
appropriately sized packer may be used.
    (5) Properly place mechanical bridge plugs to isolate the 
hydrocarbon-producing stratum from the expanding cement plug, if the 
upper-most hydrocarbon-producing stratum is within 300 feet of the base 
of the lowest mineable coal seam. Nevertheless, the operator will place 
a minimum of 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet 
or greater) of expanding cement below the lowest mineable coal seam, 
unless the DM requires a greater distance base on what is required due 
to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well.
    b. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for 
plugging or replugging oil or gas wells to the surface:
    (1) Pump expanding cement slurry down the well to form a plug that 
runs from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 
feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam (or 
lower if required by the DM due to the geological strata, or due to 
pressure within the well) to the surface. The operator will place the 
expanding cement in the well under a pressure of at least 200 pounds 
per square inch. Portland cement or a lightweight cement mixture may be 
used to fill the area from 100 feet above the top of the uppermost 
mineable coal seam (or higher if required by the DM due to the 
geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well) to the 
surface.
    (2) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the 
top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic 
monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 4\1/2\-inch or 
larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level 
with the American Petroleum Institute (API) well number either engraved 
or welded on the casing. When the hole cannot be marked with a physical 
monument (e.g., prime farmland), the operator will use high-resolution 
GPS coordinates (one-half meter resolution) to locate the hole.
    c. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for 
plugging or replugging oil and gas wells for subsequent use as 
degasification boreholes:
    (1) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping expanding cement 
slurry down the tubing to provide at least 200 feet (400 feet if the 
total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) of expanding cement below 
the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a greater depth 
due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well. 
The operator will place the expanding cement in the well under a 
pressure of at least 200 pounds per square inch and extend the top of 
the expanding cement at least 100 feet above the top of the coal seam 
being mined, unless the DM requires a greater distance due to the 
geological strata, or due to the pressure within the well.
    (2) Securely grout a suitable casing into the bedrock of the upper 
portion of the degasification well to protect it. The remainder of this 
well may be cased or uncased.
    (3) Fit the top of the degasification casing with a wellhead, 
equipped as required by the DM in the approved ventilation plan. Such 
equipment may include check valves, shut-in valves, sampling ports, 
flame arrestor equipment, and security fencing.
    (4) Operation of the degasification well will be addressed in the 
approved ventilation plan. This may include periodic tests of methane 
levels and limits on the minimum methane concentrations that may be 
extracted.
    (5) After the area of the coal mine that is degassed by a well is 
sealed or the coal mine is abandoned, seal the degas holes using the 
following procedures:
    (i) Insert a tube to the bottom of the drill hole or, if not 
possible, to at least 100 feet above the coal seam being mined. Remove 
any blockage to ensure that the tube is inserted to this depth.
    (ii) Set a cement plug in the well by pumping Portland cement or a 
lightweight cement mixture down the tubing until the well is filled to 
the surface.
    (iii) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the 
top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic 
monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 4\1/2\-inch or 
larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground level 
with the API well number engraved or welded on the casing.
    d. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures for 
preparing and plugging or replugging oil or gas wells that cannot be 
completely cleaned out:
    (1) Drill a hole adjacent and parallel to the well to a depth of at 
least 200 feet (or 400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or 
greater) below the lowest mineable coal seam, unless the DM requires a 
greater depth due to the geological strata, or due to pressures within 
the well.
    (2) Locate any casing that may remain in the well using a 
geophysical sensing device.
    (3) If the well contains casings, drill into the well from the 
parallel hole and perforate or rip all casings at intervals of at least 
5 feet from 10 feet below the coal seam to 10 feet above the coal seam. 
Beyond that distance, perforate or rip all casings at least every 50 
feet from at least 200 feet (400 feet if the total well depth is 4,000 
feet or greater) below the base of the lowest mineable coal seam up to 
100 feet above the seam being mined, unless the DM requires a greater 
distance due to the geological strata, or due to the pressure within 
the well. The operator will fill the annulus between the casings and 
between the casings and the well wall with expanding cement (minimum of 
0.5% expansion on setting), and ensure that these areas contain no 
voids. When multiple casing and tubing strings are present in the coal 
horizons, rip or perforate any casing that remains and fill with 
expanding cement. The operator will provide an acceptable casing bond 
log

[[Page 47436]]

for each casing and tubing used in lieu of ripping or perforating 
multiple strings.
    (4) Use a horizontal hydraulic fracturing technique to intercept 
the original well where there is sufficient casing in the well to allow 
use of the method outlined in paragraph (d)(3) above. Fracture the 
original well in at least six places from at least 200 feet (400 feet 
if the total well depth is 4,000 feet or greater) below the base of the 
lowest mineable coal seam to a point at least 50 feet above the seam 
being mined at intervals to be agreed on by the petitioner and the DM 
after considering the geological strata and the pressure within the 
well. The operator will pump expanding cement into the fractured well 
in sufficient quantities and in a manner that fills all intercepted 
voids.
    (5) Prepare down-hole logs for each well. The logs will consist of 
a caliper survey and be suitable for determining the top, bottom, and 
thickness of all coal seams and potential hydrocarbon-producing strata 
and the location for the bridge plug. The operator will maintain a 
journal describing; the depth and nature of each material encountered; 
bit size and type used to drill each portion of the hole; the length 
and type of each material used to plug the well; length of casing(s) 
removed, perforated, ripped, or left in place; and other pertinent 
information concerning sealing the well. Invoices, work-orders, and 
other records relating to all work on the well will be maintained as 
part of the journal and provided to MSHA on request.
    (6) After the plugging the well, plug the open portions of both 
holes from the bottom to the surface with Portland cement or a 
lightweight cement mixture.
    (7) Embed steel turnings or other small magnetic particles in the 
top of the cement near the surface to serve as a permanent magnetic 
monument of the well. In the alternative, extend a 4\1/2\-inch or 
larger casing, set in cement, at least 36 inches above the ground 
level.
    e. The petitioner proposes to use the following procedures after 
approval has been granted by the DM to mine through a plugged or 
replugged well:
    (1) Prior to cutting-through a plugged well, notify the DM or 
designee, representative of the miners, and the appropriate State 
agency in sufficient time for them to have a representative present.
    (2) Install drivage spads at the last open crosscut near the place 
to be mined to ensure intersection of the well when mining through 
wells using continuous mining equipment. The drivage spads will not be 
more than 50 feet from the well. Install drivage spads on 10-foot 
centers for a distance of 50 feet in advance of the well when using 
longwall-mining methods. The drivage spads will also be installed in 
the headgate.
    (3) Firefighting equipment, including fire extinguishers, rock 
dust, and sufficient fire hose to reach the working face area of the 
mine-through (when either the conventional or continuous mining method 
is used), will be available and operable during each well mine-through. 
The operator will locate the fire hose in the last open crosscut of the 
entry or room and maintain the water line to the belt conveyor 
tailpiece along with a sufficient amount of fire hose to reach the 
farthest point of penetration on the section.
    (4) Keep available at the last open crosscut, a supply of roof 
support and ventilation materials sufficient to ventilate and support 
around the well on cut-through. In addition, keep emergency plugs and 
suitable sealing materials will be available in the immediate area of 
the well intersection.
    (5) On the shift prior to mining through the well, all equipment 
will be serviced and checked for permissibility. Water sprays, water 
pressures and water flow rates used for dust and spark suppression will 
be examined and any deficiencies will be corrected.
    (6) Calibrate the methane monitors on the longwall, continuous 
mining machine, or cutting machine and loading machine on the shift 
prior to mining through the well.
    (7) When mining is in progress, test methane levels with a hand-
held methane detector at least every 10 minutes from the time that 
mining with the continuous mining machine is within 30 feet of the well 
until the well is intersected and immediately prior to mining through 
it. No individual is allowed on the return side during the actual 
cutting process until the mine-through has been completed and the area 
examined and declared safe. All workplace examinations will be 
conducted on the return side of the shearer while the shearer is idle.
    (8) Keep the working place free from accumulations of coal dust and 
coal spillages, and apply rock dust on the roof, rib, and floor to 
within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well when using 
continuous or conventional mining methods. Conduct rock dusting on 
longwall sections on the roof, rib, and floor up to both the headgate 
and tailgate gob.
    (9) When using continuous or conventional mining methods, the 
working places will be free of accumulations of coal dust and coal 
spillages, and rock dust will be applied on the roof, rib, and floor to 
within 20 feet of the face when mining through the well. On longwall 
sections, rock dusting will be conducted and place on the roof, rib, 
and floor up to both the headgate and tailgate gob.
    (10) Deenergize all equipment when the well is intersected and 
thoroughly examine the place and determine it is safe before resuming 
mining. After a well has been intersected and the working place 
determined safe, mining will continue inby the well at a distance 
sufficient to permit adequate ventilation around the area of the well.
    (11) If the casing is cut or milled at the coal seam level, the use 
of torches should not be necessary. In rare instances, torches may be 
used for inadequately or inaccurately cut or milled casings. No open 
flame is permitted in the area until adequate ventilation has been 
established around the wellbore and methane levels are less than 1.0 
percent in all areas that will be exposed to flames and sparks from the 
torch. The operator will apply a thick layer of rock dust to the roof, 
face, floor, ribs, and any exposed coal within 20 feet of the casing 
prior to any use of torches.
    (12) Non-sparking (brass) tools will be located on the working 
section and will be used to expose and examine cased wells.
    (13) No person will be permitted in the area of the cut-through 
operation except those actually engaged in the mining operation, 
including company personnel, representative of the miners, personnel 
from MSHA, and personnel from the appropriate State agency.
    (14) The operator will alert all personnel in the mine to the 
planned intersection of the well prior to their going underground if 
the planned intersection is to occur during their shift. This warning 
will be repeated for all shifts until the well has been mined through.
    (15) A certified official will directly supervise the cut-through 
operation and only the certified official in charge will issue 
instructions concerning the mine-through operation.
    (16) The responsible person required in 30 CFR 75.1501 will be 
responsible for well intersection emergencies. The responsible person 
will review the well intersection procedures prior to any planned 
intersection.
    Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner 
will submit proposed revisions for its approved part 48 training plan 
to the DM. The proposed revisions will include initial and refresher 
training regarding compliance with the terms and conditions of this 
petition for modification. The operator will provide

[[Page 47437]]

all miners involved in the mine-through of a well with training 
regarding the requirements of this petition for modification prior to 
mining within 150 feet of the next well to be mined through.
    Within 30 days after this petition becomes final, the petitioner 
will submit proposed revisions for its approved mine emergency 
evacuation and firefighting plan required in 30 CFR 75.1501. The 
petitioner will revise the plans to include the hazards and evacuation 
procedures to be used for well intersections. All underground miners 
will be trained in this revised plan within 30 days of the DM's 
approval of the revised evacuation plan. Such training may be done in a 
weekly safety meeting or other type of appropriate setting.
    The petitioner asserts that the proposed alternative method will at 
all times guarantee no less than the same measure or protection 
afforded by the existing standard.

Sheila McConnell,
Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances.
[FR Doc. 2016-17173 Filed 7-20-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4520-43-P