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Thursday, March 21, 2019

DEP Orders Well Operators to Plug 1,058 Abandoned Wells Statewide

DEP Orders Well Operators to Plug 1,058 Abandoned Wells Statewide: Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued administrative orders requiring three oil and gas companies—Alliance Petroleum Corporation (Alliance), XTO Energy Inc. (XTO), and CNX Gas Company LLC (CNX)—to plug 1,058 abandoned oil and gas wells across Pennsylvania.

Monday, March 11, 2019

DEP Reaches Settlement on Abandoned Wells


DEP Reaches Settlement on Abandoned Wells
Agreement secures historic bonding for abandoned oil and gas wells

DEP Newsroom

3/11/2019
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced a settlement with Diversified Gas & Oil Corporation and Diversified Oil & Gas, LLC (collectively referred to as Diversified) and Alliance Petroleum Co LLC (Alliance) over well plugging violations in 23 Pennsylvania counties. 
“This agreement is a win for the commonwealth because it ensures that over 1,400 oil and gas wells are properly maintained or plugged and that these operators, not Pennsylvania citizens, bear the full cost of operating or plugging them,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. 
Diversified and Alliance have agreed to a $7 million surety bond for the wells covered by this settlement, plus an additional $20,000 to $30,000 bond for each abandoned or nonproducing oil and gas well acquired in the future. Under current law, adopted in 2012 as an amendment to Pennsylvania's Fiscal Code, conventional oil and gas operators such as Diversified and Alliance are only required to secure $25,000 of blanket bonding to cover all of their wells, which in the case of the two companies, amounts to bonding of approximately $2 per well. The performance bonding negotiated in this settlement is closer to actual plugging costs that can begin around $20,000 per well and go much higher depending on well and site conditions.  
With this Consent Order and Agreement (COA) in place, DEP has approved pending transfers of non-producing mostly conventional oil and gas wells to Alliance and Diversified. The COA allows some wells to be put back into production, so long as minimum production levels are maintained, and sets a plugging and restoration schedule for non-producing wells of 15 years while prioritizing the plugging of wells that pose health, safety, and/or environmental threats. The COA may be extended for an additional 5 years subject to additional bonding of $30,000 per well for wells to be plugged during the extension. 
The Oil and Gas Act requires owners and operators to plug wells upon abandonment. In July 2018, DEP issued orders to Alliance, XTO Energy Inc. (XTO), and CNX Gas Company LLC (CNX) to plug 1,058 abandoned oil and gas wells across the state—based on required self-reporting of well production data—and held pending transfers of said wells. Those wells, along with wells that Diversified also reported as non-producing, make up the approximately 1400 wells specifically addressed in in the COA. Alliance, XTO, and CNX appealed DEP’s orders to the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board. 
Pennsylvania has over 8,000 orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells on its inventory and hundreds of thousands of legacy wells may be unaccounted for, posing a major financial liability and environmental, public health, and safety risk.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Policy to practice—how energy policy drives investment in Minnesota comm...

Clean energy solutions—benefiting local economies and public health

Texas Democrats caught between climate change and the energy economy

 
 
 
WASHINGTON - Houston Democrat Lizzie Fletcher was elected to Congress last November as part of a progressive groundswell against President Donald Trump, winning over a stretch of wealthy Houston suburbs where the oil industry has long reigned supreme and Democrats had not won an election since the late 1960s.
But within a month of her taking office, Democrats’ potential headwinds in suburban Texas are in full view as a proposal from the party’s progressive wing to rapidly shift the United States away from fossil fuels gains momentum amidst increasingly dire forecasts on climate change. Read more.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

A 14-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico verges on becoming one of the worst in U.S. history

An oil spill that has been quietly leaking millions of barrels into the Gulf of Mexico has gone unplugged for so long that it now verges on becoming one of the worst offshore disasters in U.S. history.
Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been spewing from a site 12 miles off the Louisiana coast since 2004, when an oil-production platform owned by Taylor Energy sank in a mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan. Many of the wells have not been capped, and federal officials estimate that the spill could continue through this century. With no fix in sight, the Taylor offshore spill is threatening to overtake BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster as the largest ever. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Orphan Wells Plague, Feds Lag Behind State




Bill and Marge West farm out near Arvada on land originally homesteaded by Bill West’s dad in 1919.
“We’re about the last farmers in Campbell County. Everyone else quit,” Bill West said.
With a miniature schnauzer on his lap, he drove around his property pointing out all the orphan wells that pepper his land. There are nearly 100 of them, and none of them have been reclaimed yet.
“We’re going to be one of the last ones they clean up, I suppose,” he said.
Not only are these wells crowded with noxious weeds and a hazard for West’s farm equipment, there’s a potential for groundwater contamination. Read more:
https://county17.com/2018/09/25/orphan-wells-plague-feds-lag-behind-state/

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Orphan Wells: States Wrestle With Soaring Costs For Oil & Gas Industry Mess


Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource
William Suan is no stranger to the problems abandoned oil and gas wells can cause.
“It's just an eyesore,” he said, standing inside a barn on his cattle ranch near Lost Creek, West Virginia. “I had to fence one off because it's leaking now.”
There are five inactive wells on his land, most installed in the '60s and '70s, and the companies that owned the wells have long since gone out of business.
On a recent rainy Monday, Suan treks down a muddy hill on the backside of his property. Hidden in the wooded thicket is a three-foot-tall rusted tube jutting out of the ground.
A soft bubbling sound emanates from the well.

http://www.wvpublic.org/post/orphan-wells-states-wrestle-soaring-costs-oil-gas-industry-mess#stream/0