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Arrangements for drilling notifications and enforcement at onshore borehole sites

SPC/TECH/SI1/04 - Previously spc/tech/ld5/04

Purpose

This circular gives details of the arrangements for the notification to HSE of the intention to drill boreholes at onshore sites, and the enforcement of statutory provisions at such sites.

Background

1. The Borehole Sites and Operations Regulations 1995 (BSOR) apply to:

2. The Regulations deal, inter-alia, with the requirements for the pre-notification to HSE of an operator's intention to drill at petroleum and mining borehole sites. They also require the notification of boreholes to a depth of 30m or more in a defined mining area.

3. Further notification requirements are imposed by The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR).

Operational responsibility within HSE

4. HID Offshore Safety Division (OSD) has the lead at sites where prospect drilling for or extraction of oil and gas is undertaken, whether or not there is preliminary treatment of the oil and gas; e.g. dewatering and degassing, coal bed methane extraction, and methane extraction from old mine workings.

5. HID Specialised Industries 1 (SI1 - Mines Inspectorate) has the lead for prospect drilling for minerals, other than oil and gas, where extraction will be by underground mining.

6. HID CI1, CI2, CI3 and SI3 have the operational lead for boreholes prospecting for, or extracting, brine within their respective geographical areas. However, where it is for the purpose of creating a natural gas storage cavity, lead responsibility should go to SI3.

7.Field Operations Division - Minerals and Metals Sector (Quarries) has the lead for borehole operations prospecting for minerals, including coal, where extraction will be by quarrying.

Notifications under BSOR

8. Notifications required by Regulation 6(1) for the commencement of drilling operations for petroleum (oil & gas), should be sent to Offshore Safety Division (OSD), Lord Cullen House, Fraser Place, Aberdeen, AB25 3UB. If the site involves the extraction of gas in a mining area a copy of the notification should also be sent to HM Inspectorate of Mines.

9. Notifications required by Regulation 6(2) and (3) for the commencement of drilling operations for mineral extraction by underground mining, or a borehole deeper than 30m in a mining area should be sent to SI1 (Mines Inspectorate), HMIM Foundry House, 3 Millsands, Riverside Exchange, Sheffield, S3 8NH, UK .

10. Notifications required by Regulation 6(3) for the commencement of drilling operations for mineral extraction by quarrying should be sent to HSE, Quarries Inspectorate, Government Buildings, Ty Glas, Llanishen, Cardiff, CF14 5SH. Where any borehole is likely to be or exceed a depth of 30m in a mining area, a copy of the notification should also be sent to HM Inspectorate of Mines.

11. Notifications required by Regulation 6(4) or 6(5) should be sent to the same primary address as the original 6(1), 6(2), 6(3) notifications.

Handling notifications within MI

12. Regulation 6 notifications should be copied to The Coal Authority unless it is clear that the Authority is already aware. The mine owner should be informed if the notification indicates an intention to drill near a working mine.

13. Notification under Regulation 6(3) of an intention to drill and extract mineral (e.g. brine) via a borehole should be forwarded to the relevant HID CI1, CI2, CI3 or SI3 unit. A reply should also be sent to the operator of the borehole (copied to the relevant SI unit) requesting them to send any RIDDOR notification directly to the HID SI unit.

Further information

For further information, please contact SI1 (Mines Inspectorate), HMIM Foundry House, 3 Millsands, Riverside Exchange, Sheffield S3 8NH, 0114 291 2390.

Updated 2011-03-02