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(1) Except as hereinafter provided, all seismic holes shall be plugged as soon after being utilized as reasonably practicable; however, in no event shall they remain unplugged for a period of more than 120 days after being drilled and shot.

(2) The permittee shall notify the department, in writing, of its intent to plug and abandon, including the date such activities are expected to commence, the location by section, township, and range of the holes to be plugged and the name and telephone number of the person in charge of the plugging operations.

(3) All seismic shot holes shall be plugged in accordance with the board of oil and gas conservation rules. All cuttings not placed in the hole shall be spread out over the surrounding area at a depth not to exceed 1 inch.

(4) If an artesian water flow is encountered in any of the drill holes located on state land, the permittee shall immediately notify the department so that a decision can be made by the department as to whether the well will be developed. The department shall make a decision within 24 hours of notification. If the well is not developed, or if damage is occurring or is imminent, it is the permittee's responsibility to plug the hole with cement of sufficient density to contain the waters to their native strata as required by the board of oil and gas con- servation rules. If a nonflowing aquifer is encountered in any of the drill holes on state land, the permittee shall notify the department in writing of the location and depth.

(5) The permittee shall leave the land covered by the permit in as nearly the same condition as it was prior to the effective date of the permit as is practically possible. All refuse, including, but not limited to, oil cans, shot wire, powder boxes, flagging, cement or mud sacks, stakes, and primacord shall be removed from the lands and shall be properly disposed of by the permittee.

(6) A seismic shot hole may be left unplugged at the request of the surface lessee or owner for conversion to a fresh water well provided the surface lessee or owner executes a release on a form provided by the department relieving the permittee from any liability for damages that may thereafter result from the hole remaining unplugged.

History: 77-3-402, MCA; IMP, 77-3-401, MCA; NEW, 1980 MAR p. 3122, Eff. 12/27/80; TRANS, 1996 MAR p. 2384.

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