Nevada is home to the Chainman Shale formation, which sits primarily in the eastern central region of Nevada within the Big Sand Spring Valley.1 The shale contains both oil and gas and covers about 20 million acres.2
Nevada has not been a major player in shale oil production thus far. Of the 31 crude oil-producing states in 2015, Nevada ranked 27th in production.3 This is due in part to Nevada’s “complex” geology.4
Statutory and Regulatory Framework
In 2013, the Nevada Legislature passed Senate Bill 390, which required the Division of Minerals of the Commission on Mineral Resources (the “Commission”) and the Division of Environmental Protection of the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to jointly develop a hydraulic fracturing program to assess the effects of hydraulic fracturing activities on State waters and inform the public of the activities relating to hydraulic fracturing.5
The Commission was given the responsibility to adopt rules implementing the program by January 2015.6
The finalized regulations include provisions for groundwater baseline sampling and monitoring, water resource and wastewater disposal requirements, chemical disclosure requirements and mandates for extra casing for unconventional wells, notification of land owners and county commissioners, and the collection of multiple water samples for testing.7
In December 2015, additional approval requirements were added for saltwater disposal wells.8 Nevada also updated its well-plugging requirement by clarifying when a non-producing well must be permanently plugged and abandoned.9 The rules were also amended to require requests for approval for additional actions, such as the deepening of a well, change in the active status of a well, or change in the owner or operator of a well.10 Well completion reports must be filed within 30 after drilling operations are completed.11
Last updated September 2016.