Issue of Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells Makes National Headlines

Issue of Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells Makes National Headlines

Last month I wrote about the opportunities that exist to create jobs and protect the local environment from the problems associated with oil and gas operations.

The Associated Press has picked up on the issue and acknowledged the issues of leaking methane and benzene from abandoned oil and gas wells that might be reaching groundwater. Methane, it reports, has 86 times the climate warming power of carbon dioxide. Benzene is a known carcinogen.

Reports are there are about 3.2 million abandoned oil and gas wells in America, but only one-third of those are believed to be properly sealed and plugged with cement. As is the case across most of the oil and gas producing states, the location of many of these abandoned wells are not even known.

President Biden has staked a part of his domestic policy on creating jobs for unemployed gas industry workers, but there are worries Congress will not approve funding for the issue.

West Virginia has attempted to provide funding for the plugging of abandoned wells. The legislature not long ago amended provisions of law related to unknown mineral owners to provide that funding. As this issue continues to gain attention, I hope all stake holders can come together to reach a coalition that creates funding, job opportunities and environmental cleanup at the same time.


Reports show there are about 3.2 million abandoned oil and gas wells in America, but only one-third of those are believed to be properly sealed and plugged with cement. Jeremy McGraw explains.