Pennsylvania's Independent Regulatory Review Commission on Thursday approved proposed rules that would tighten regulations on oil and gas well drilling.

The proposed well cementing and casing requirements are designed to help prevent gas from migrating from a well, which has been associated with contaminated water supplies and adverse impacts to public health and safety, the Pennsylvania's Environmental Quality Board said following their introduction.

Additionally, drillers would be required to report production and waste volumes electronically and submit detailed reports about the chemicals used to hydraulically fracture wells (see Daily GPI, Oct. 15).

Members of the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) already have begun to implement some of the proposed rules (see Shale Daily, Oct. 15).

Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection used public input to make several changes to the regulations to further improve the well design requirements to prevent gas migration incidents, including provisions to require operators to:

In addition, the regulations would require operators to keep a list of emergency contact phone numbers at the well site and specify what actions an operator would take in the event of a gas migration incident. Amended provisions also clarify how and when blowout prevention equipment is to be installed and operated.

The rules are expected to become final by the end of January.