Well Abandonment Issues And Solutons

Posted on: 15 September 2021

Millions of abandoned oil and gas wells are located nationwide. These wells present environmental and safety issues and often compromise the beauty of the land that they are located on. However, there are environmental agencies and proposed laws that may aid with creating a solution to the evergrowing problem of well abandonment.

Who Is Responsible?

A property owner who had a well drilled or an oil and gas company that installed a well in a particular region is essentially responsible for capping off the system after several months have passed. If the materials that comprise a well are in working order and a well can be used again, it may not be deemed as abandoned.

The circumstances surrounding why a well is not actively used and the current ownership of a well will determine if an abandonment issue is present. Some oil and gas companies that were initially responsible for installing wells may no longer be in business. In this type of scenario, a well often sits untouched. 

What Are The Dangers Of Abandonment?

An abandoned well may have traces of gas or oil in it, which can lead to the release of toxic chemicals. Chemicals that are released from a well could seep into the dirt that surrounds the shaft. The toxins could harm wildlife or could inhibit the growth of plants. Some wells can affect the quality of drinking water. If a well is located next to a body of water, water may need to be tested and treated prior to consumption.

Toxic materials may also contribute to global warming and may be harmful to those who breathe in the materials. Some of the toxins released from wells include benzene, formaldehyde, and methane. In addition to the release of toxic chemicals being a concern, an unplugged well could result in someone falling down a shaft. 

Who Can Fix This Problem?

An environmental drilling company can aid with plugging abandoned wells. There are also some proposed laws that may eventually aid in the reduction of abandoned wells. Prior to the plugging process, a well is inspected. A drilling crew will measure the depth and width of a shaft.

Debris will be removed from the well, prior to removing the inner casing and disinfecting surfaces. A plugging material will be used to restore the surface of the ground. The actual material that is used for plugging purposes will be dependent upon the topography of the land and the type of soil that surrounds the well.

For more information, contact a company like Calgem Well Abandonment.

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