Orphan Well Update: May 2024


May 09, 2024

Greater Growth: Funding and Data Could Influence Well Plugging

The notable orphan well plugging gains seen in 2023 appear to be continuing in 2024. Increased federal funding is making it possible to plug more orphan wells than in years past, and new potential revenue sources and better methane emissions data could drive further evolution of the well plugging process.

Recently, a company in Oklahoma showed it is possible to earn carbon credits to plug orphan oil and gas wells, opening the door to a new source of funding to support the often expensive task of plugging wells. At the same time, growth in methane emissions monitoring via satellite and research into methane sources and well and geologic conditions associated with emissions could lead to better emissions estimates and help find and prioritize leaking orphan wells.

Several states have accomplished early wins in their efforts to plug orphan oil and gas wells in 2024.


At the end of February, the State of Colorado reported having 1,410 orphan well sites that have remediation work either in progress or planned. On those sites there are about 650 wells that are remaining to be plugged.


In late 2023, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources projected that it would be able to plug 360 orphaned wells by the end of 2024. As of March, the agency reports a total of 280 wells plugged, with 86 wells left to be sealed and just over $6 million remaining on its contract.


The State of Kansas has plugged 22 orphan wells as of April 2024 using Kansas Corporation Commission funds. The total number of wells plugged with state funds overall increased by 119, reaching 11,240 plugged wells. At the same time, there have been 260 wells plugged in Kansas using federal funds.


Kentucky is also continuing to make progress in efforts to plug orphan wells, with an additional 12 wells being plugged in 2024 thus far. This brings the total number of plugged orphan wells in Kentucky to 635.


Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources Office of Conservation enacted new rules last year that made the state eligible for up to $70 million more in federal funding. As of the end of April 2024, Louisiana has plugged 41 orphan wells.


In 2023, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) set a goal of plugging 100 orphan wells that year, a milestone reached by October. Only a few months into 2024, PA DEP reports the plugging of 61 wells, putting it on track to exceed last year’s achievements.


In 2023, Texas made tremendous progress in plugging orphaned wells in the state. For 2023, the Railroad Commission of Texas has set a goal of plugging 2,000 wells by the end of 2024. As of the end of March, Texas reports having plugged 667 wells using state funds, with 66 of those being plugged in March alone.

BioSqueeze is proud to play a part in plugging orphan wells by providing a turnkey solution to well integrity issues often encountered during decommissioning including gas migration, annular leaks, leaking plugs in the wellbore, and various mechanical integrity issues.

Contact us now for more information and/or a complimentary review and recommendation.

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