by Maureen Harbourt

On September 7, 2005, the Conservation Commissioner issued a memorandum authorizing certain exceptions to the rules of the Commission which deal with oil and gas production activities. The memorandum applies only to operations in the eight worst-affected parishes: Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, Terrebonne, and Washington. However, the memorandum states that the Commission recognizes “that operational situations may exist or be encountered which justify other exceptions to the rules of the Office of Conservation both within and outside the authorized area.” Thus, for situations not covered by the memorandum, Conservation encourages the operator to call 225/342-5540. The areas covered by the memorandum include:

*A general exception to LAC 43:XIX.3507 allowing the venting of gas produced from wells recognized as oil wells by the Office of Conservation provided certain conditions exist and certain practices are followed.

*Where the authorized transporter is unable to move production due to storm related issues, a general exception to LAC 43:XIX.907 is provided to allow operators to move oil from facilities without the necessity of filing Form R-4 (Authorization to Move Oil), provided a transporter recognized as an oil transporter by the Commission is used.

*Case-by-case approval will be considered to allow short term commingling of production from separate leases and/or units in exception to LAC 43:XIX.1501 where facilities for the separate leases and/or units have been destroyed or damaged by the storm. To obtain the approval, the applicant must demonstrate that appropriate measures are in place to provide reasonably accurate allocation of production to each such lease and/or unit.

*Where the currently authorized produced water disposal system is unavailable due to storm related conditions, authorization without first obtaining a permit pursuant to LAC 43:XIX.403 is given to inject produced water into a formerly productive well that has depleted and is no longer capable of production.

The relief afforded is authorized only until November 30, 2005. The full memorandum will be published on the Office of Conservation website at: or by email request to or