Skip to comments.Wyoming May Act to Plug Abandoned Wells as Natural Gas Boom Ends
Posted on 01/04/2014 2:38:42 PM PST by Lorianne
Hundreds of abandoned drilling wells dot eastern Wyoming like sagebrush, vestiges of a natural gas boom that has been drying up in recent years as prices have plummeted.
The companies that once operated the wells have all but vanished into the prairie, many seeking bankruptcy protection and unable to pay the cost of reclaiming the land they leased. Recent estimates have put the number of abandoned drilling operations in Wyoming at more than 1,200, and state officials said several thousand more might soon be orphaned by their operators.
Wyoming officials are now trying to address the problem amid concerns from landowners that the wells could contaminate groundwater and are a blight on the land.
This month, Gov. Matt Mead proposed allocating $3 million to pay for plugging the wells and reclaiming the land around them. And the issue is expected to be debated during next years legislative session as lawmakers seek to hold drilling companies more accountable.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
It’s like saying you can keep your doctor.
I wonder if it’s legal - to buy land with an abandoned natural gas well operation on it, then build your own house on the land and restart the gas pumping, using it for energy/fuel just for your own home???
They did. Each operator had to post a $75000 bond per well.
If you read the whole article, it's evident that the Times is attempting to build a mountain from a molehill.
In addition to the bonding, the state has an ongoing conservation tax on the oil & gas industry for exactly this purpose. The state's Petroleum Association is cooperating and has agreed to a temporary increase.
The only problem is that so many wells were abandoned over such a short-period of time, so that it's going to take several years for the clean-up to catch up.
But the state and the Petroleum Association appear to have everything under control.
For its part, the Times is engaged in its characteristic anti-drilling propaganda.
Natural gas prices have doubled since most of these wells were drilled.
Since 2008, the price of NG has dropped from about $12 to as low as $3.50 about 2 months ago.
However, today, NG is $4.25, and is sitting close to a 2 year high.
I’ll guess the massive cold spell on Sunday will bump that price up some more.
Depends on whether the minerals have been severed from the land. If the drillers just leased from the landowners,and the lease has expired, then the minerals would go with the land.
As for using gas straight out of the ground, I’d refer you to this:
Top notch post.
Yep, if you own the mineral rights.
“As for using gas straight out of the ground, Id refer you to this”
1. I am sure the standards have changed quite a bit since the 1930s. 2. Just because the house might be built on the same set of acres that the well is part of would not mean that the house would be built next to the well or the pummping operation at the wellhead. Just like residential natural gas in a city, there’d be a pipeline from the pumping station to the house, and applying the same safety standards as a commercial operation.
“Yep, if you own the mineral rights.”
Good. Now I just need to win the Lotto and hire someone to locate the suitable property. /LOL
Just daydreamin today.
You would need separators on it to take water and other impurities out and you should inject the odorant that makes it stink in case of a leak.
Problem is if you choked it down enough to just supply your house with gas it might be enough to just kill the well. Then you are sitting there looking like the village idiot.
In 1956, we lived in a natural gas co campground in NW New Mexico. The entire camp was supplied with wellhead gas by the company.
One morning, our trailer blew up with us in it, caused by a leaking underground pipe. Our mom was horribly burned but survived thanks to medical care in Farmington NM at that time.
Our lives went into a tailspin for years.
A few years ago, one of our co-workers had a sister burned to death in NE Oklahoma when wasps plugged a vent line from their water well. A spark caused by an electric motor in the well house set off a blast and killed her.
This was a buildup of natural gas from her water well. No fracking has taken place anywhere near here.
There is an oudorant placed in natural gas for a reason as well head gas has no odor.
“Problem is if you choked it down enough to just supply your house with gas it might be enough to just kill the well.”
Let me see if I understand you.
The gas comes out at the well head because opening the underground well of gas acts like a “pressure relief” operation. If you “choke” how much (the rate at which) you want to release that pressure, to control how much gas you are getting, to a minimum, you may create a pressure issue in your pumping operation - in the line down into the well or somewhere.
Is that the kind of thing you mean??
What's even more offensive, though, is that there are several million Americans who are so uninformed and unknowing that they don't recognize such propaganda for what it is.
Even worse, the Times' audience is disproportionately composed of graduates from our "elite universities" and are supposed to be among "Our Best and Our Brightest". Yet, they swallow twaddle like this...and ask for more.
It doesn’t seem like there is enough in the kitty to cover the cost of plugging the wells (if you take the numbers in the article to be accurate).
Why is the taxpayer on the hook?
Read it again. The "conservation tax" is levied on and paid by the oil & gas industry.
Long time back I recall reading about some farmers in Oklahoma that heat their chicken houses with the gas from abandoned stripper wells on their property.
One of the biggest enemies of a gas well is produced water out of the same formation that is producing gas. The gas “rushing” to the surface carries along with it the produced water. Shut the well in and it may water up so much it will never flow again(killing it), as well, reducing the flow down to the volume you would need for your house may let enough water into the bore hole that it would gradually fill up and kill the well.
Hard and expensive to get one flowing again. Sometimes never.
So, the moral to the story is you flow a well enough not to let it water up but not so much you gut the producing formation leading to a non producer.
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