How this affects Ohio's Oil and Gas Industry
On March 22nd, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton announced a “Stay at Home” order for Ohioans through April 6th. Many oil and gas operations were exempted from this order under the category of “essential services.”
The full order from the State of Ohio is available here.
In response to the order, please see the following messages from Ohio Oil & Gas President Matthew Hammond and ODNR Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management Eric Vendel:
From Matthew Hammond, OOGA President:
Governor DeWine did use the guidance document from the Department of Homeland Security, which does deem oil and gas an “essential service.” We’ve been working with leadership in the DeWine Administration to ensure our industry would be allowed to continue to operate in the event there would be a “stay at home” order.
On page 5 of the order, it lays out entities that are exempt from the “stay at home” order, which includes the list provided by the Department of Homeland Security, which covers the following:
The DeWine Administration expects that while operations are ongoing our members are taking every precaution to protect the health of their employees and contractors. This applies to any business exempt from this order. This includes limiting as many non-essential personnel on location as much as possible and taking temperatures, if possible. I know many of our members have started doing that already.
I’m sure there are a lot of questions, especially as this is a constantly evolving issue, so please do not hesitate to call me with any questions or concerns. I will continue to communicate with the DeWine Administration and will share any additional information I receive.
From Eric Vendel, Chief, Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management
I am writing this to provide you guidance in light of the Ohio Department of Health’s Stay at Home Order issued Sunday. I encourage you to read it. With the exception of persons engaged in essential work or activity, Dr. Amy Acton has ordered every resident of the State of Ohio to stay in their home from 11:59 pm on March 23 to 11:59 pm on April 6.
The order authorizes individuals to leave their residence to perform work to offer, provide, operate, maintain and repair essential infrastructure. Essential infrastructure includes operation and maintenance of utilities, including water, sewer, and gas; electrical (including power generation, distribution, and production of raw materials); distribution centers; and oil and biofuel refining. The order also states that essential infrastructure is to be construed broadly to avoid any impacts to essential infrastructure, broadly defined. Further, the order includes manufacturing companies, distributors and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for energy. For purposes of Ohio’s oil and gas industry this would include well drilling and construction, well plugging, underground injection control, oil and gas waste facilities, and other related production operations. Please know that the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management (the Division) will provide the services necessary to support the oil and gas industry as essential infrastructure.
Also, in accordance with the order, the oil and gas industry must comply with the social distancing requirements and the COVID-19 checklist specified in the order. I emphasize this to minimize exposure of the oil and gas industry employees and Division staff to the COVID-19 virus.
As I communicated previously, the Division has taken steps, based on the recommendations of health experts and directives from Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health, to ensure that we are protecting the health, safety and welfare of our employees and Ohio citizens.
Many of our employees are working remotely during this time. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this temporary arrangement. It is the Division’s goal for these changes to minimally affect business operations. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Division will continue to enforce all oil and gas laws and rules during this period.
If you have any questions or concerns about this email or anything related to the Division’s operations, please don’t hesitate to contact me.