Oil and gas well operators in New Mexico are now subject to the new regulations outlined in Senate Bill 189, which amends the existing Oil and Gas Act. The bill, passed on February 14, 2018, establishes new requirements that well operators must meet to operate in any part of the state.
Changes to the New Mexico Oil and Gas Act
This new bill makes significant amendments to the Oil and Gas Act, one of the most notable being a large increase in financial guarantee requirements for oil and gas operators. Senate Bill 189 takes steps to protect the state from damages caused by operators acting in an irresponsible manner, in particular, it increases the pressure on oil and gas operators to adequately deal with abandoned wells.
The new rules increase the amount operators in the state must provide as a guarantee to the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division from $50,000 to $250,000. This change is designed to help ensure that operators comply with all regulations laid down in the Oil and Gas Act regarding the plugging and abandonment of wells. Operators who fail to follow the laws will be subject to a financial penalty, which will be taken from the guarantee funding they provide to the state.
Acceptable Forms of Financial Guarantee
The financial guarantee is a prerequisite requirement for the right to drill, which means that all oil and gas operators in the state will need to provide evidence of the guarantee source before they can begin any drilling activity. The new Senate Bill lists a number of acceptable forms of guarantee, these are:
- surety bond
- plugging insurance policy
- irrevocable letter of credit
While the best option for the guarantee will vary by operator, many businesses opt to purchase a surety bond due to ease of purchase and low cost. Unlike the cash and irrevocable line of credit options, surety bonds do not tie up a business’ financial resources and offer very affordable premiums.
Securing a Surety Bond in New Mexico
Finding the best bond for your business is easy when you work with an experienced bonding agency. Viking Bond Service has been helping oil and gas operators secure surety bonds for many years and is here to help you find the right bond at the best price. Fill in our online form to get started.