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In 150 Years, 12 Million+ Oil & Gas Wells Nationwide And We Don't Know Where Many Even Are

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 08:23 AM
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In 150 Years, 12 Million+ Oil & Gas Wells Nationwide And We Don't Know Where Many Even Are
EDIT

In 2008, gas from an abandoned well leaked into a septic system in Pennsylvania and exploded when someone tried to light a candle in a bathroom, killing the person, according to a 2009 draft report <3> by the state's Department of Environmental Protection. That report also documented at least two dozen other cases of gas seeping from old wells, including three where the drilling of new wells "communicated" with old wells, leaking gas into water supplies and forcing the evacuation of a home. In February, methane from an old well made its way into the basement of a house in West Mifflin, Pa., triggering a small explosion. Two families were evacuated and have not yet returned home.

Such incidents rarely receive much attention outside the states and neighborhoods they affect. But as the nation's latest drilling boom continues, abandoned wells have begun attracting more attention, particularly in states where the earth is already pock-marked with holes left by earlier waves of extraction. New wells sometimes disturb layers of rock and dirt near fragile old wells, leading to new cases of contamination.

The most recent effort to count the nation's unplugged wells was a survey <4> published in 2008 by the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, a multistate agency made up of regulators and industry representatives. It found that states had located nearly 60,000 wells that needed to be plugged -- and estimated that as many as a million more may be out there. In Pennsylvania alone, regulators estimate that 184,000 wells were drilled before records were kept. Many of those wells were plugged with stumps, rocks or nothing at all.

EDIT

In the last decade, New York has managed to plug only about 125 of its estimated 40,000 deteriorating wells. It has taken Kentucky more than two decades to plug about 4,000 wells -- and it has a waiting list of almost 13,000 more. Even Texas, which has invested heavily in abandoned wells, is years away from plugging all of its open holes. Since 1984, it has plugged more than 30,000 wells. But almost 10,000 are still open, and more are found and added to the list all the time. Some regulators fear that the number of abandoned wells will grow when the current drilling boom <5> runs its course. Last year, oil and gas operators drilled almost 45,000 new wells across the United States, and that number is expected to hold steady or increase as the nation tries to wean itself from foreign oil. If even a small fraction of those wells is eventually abandoned, states will be left with the bill, just as they were when the last boom ended in the mid-1980s.

EDIT

http://www.propublica.org/article/deteriorating-oil-and...
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AdHocSolver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 08:57 AM
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1. Another disaster in the making. What happens when the world is led by its greediest and dumbest. nt
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Mnemosyne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 09:19 AM
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2. K&R n/t
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RC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:09 AM
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3. But,... but..., but...,
Oil and gas is so much safer than nuclear. This can't be. :sarcasm:
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