Oil and Gas Drilling Permit

What is the purpose of this permit?
The purpose of the Oil and Gas Drilling Permit is administered by authority of RCW 78.52 to:
  • Regulate the exploration, development, production, and utilization of oil and gas to prevent waste.
  • Authorize and provide for the operation and development of oil and gas properties so that the maximum economic recovery of oil and gas may be reached, and that the rights of owners are protected.
  • Conduct oil and gas operations in a manner that will maintain a safe and healthy environment for the public and protect the state's natural resources.
  • Encourage, authorize, and provide for cycling, recycling, pressure maintenance and secondary recovery operations so that the maximum economic recovery of oil and gas may be obtained so landowners, royalty owners, producers, and the general public may realize and enjoy the greatest possible benefits from these resources.
Who issues this permit?
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
What activities require this permit?
All oil and gas drilling, re-drilling, deepening, or operations in the search and/or production of oil and gas in the state require an Oil and Gas Drilling Permit.
How much will this permit cost?
Permit applicants shall pay the following fee amounts for each application to drill, re-drill, or deepen:
  • From 0-3500 ft. is $250.
  • From 3501-7000 feet is $500.
  • From 7001-12,000 feet is $750.
  • Over 12,001 feet is $1,000.
  • Shallow (less than 2,000 feet geologic information only) is $100.
  • Blanket permit for seismic shot hole is $100.
Where can I get the application for this permit?
The application is called 'Oil & Gas Drilling Permit Application (Oil & Gas Form 1)' is online and can be accessed at http://www.dnr.wa.gov/programs-and-services/geology/energy-mining-and-minerals/rules-regulations-and-forms.
Do I need to include anything with my application?
Per WAC 334-12-050, a person wanting to drill, redrill, or deepen a well in search of oil or gas needs to:
  • Apply using Form-1.
  • Submit a completed State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) environmental checklist.
  • Provide information on drill site layout, blowout prevention equipment details, mud program, casing and cementing program, and mud pit details.
  • Designate location and source of water supply.
  • Indicate topographic features of well site including drainage patterns, and any associated surface waters and wetlands.
  • Provide a narrative statement describing the proposed measures to be taken for protection of the environment, including, but not limited to, the prevention or control of:
    • Fires.
    • Soil erosion.
    • Pollution of surface and groundwaters.
    • Damage to fish and wildlife or other natural resources.
    • Air and noise pollution.
    • Hazards to public health and safety.
  • Provide additional information or data to support the application and the protection of the environment, including site reclamation procedures.
  • Designate methods and site for disposal of waste materials and drilling muds that contain heavy metals or are considered hazardous waste.
  • Notify the surface landowner, the landowners tenant, or other surface users in writing; include a copy to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
  • Pay the appropriate fee, which is not refundable.
Is the decision on my permit dependent on anything besides the information in my application?
Issues related to other federal, state, and local permits as well as immitigable adverse environmental factors could affect whether DNR can issue an Oil and Gas Drilling permit.
How long will it take to review my application?
Application processing is project specific and depends of many variables. Typical process times are 3 to 6 months after receipt of a complete application.
Where do I submit my application?
Department of Natural Resources
Geology and Earth Resources Division
1111 Washington Street SE
PO Box 47007
Olympia, WA 98504-7007
How long is my permit valid?
Per WAC 344-12-150, a permit will be cancelled if drilling operations have not begun within 12 months of permit issuance. Cancellation will take effect 30 days after written notice has been sent to the operator by DNR. For good cause, DNR may grant a reasonable extension that will not exceed 6 months.
Legal Authority:
Permit Timeliness Results

Permit Timeliness data collection is in response to a State Auditor’s Performance Audit and RCW 43.42A. Each regulatory agency developed a plan to improve permit clarity, predictability, and timeliness. Each agency considers the customers experience to ensure permit assistance is simple to use, easy to access, and designed in a customer-friendly manner. Agencies report progress to the Governor’s Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance (ORIA). ORIA prepares and distributes reports, with participation from the State Auditor’s Office and Results Washington. See latest report here: https://www.oria.wa.gov/ORIA-2020-PermitTimelinessProgressReport.pdf.

All permits submitted for reporting were entered into this Regulatory Handbook. Here are the results of the performance data:

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Process a Permit Application (Definition)
Average number of days from Receipt to Complete: 24
Maximum number of days from Receipt to Complete: 24

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Issue a Permit Decision (Definition)
Average number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 30
Maximum number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 30

(Summary results based on 1 submittals in 2015, no data for current year)

Where can I get permitting assistance?
Helpdesk phone: (360) 902-1450
Subject matter expert phone: (360) 902-1454
Subject matter expert email: maryann.shawver@dnr.wa.gov
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Geology and Earth Resources Division
1111 Washington Street SE
PO Box 47007
Olympia, WA 98504-7007
Telephone: (360) 902-1450
Fax: (360) 902-1785
Triggering Questions:
  • Do you plan to drill oil and/or gas production/exploration wells?
* Permit information last updated 8/22/2016