In areas with high oil and gas production, numerous wells and the infrastructure built to support them often last decades, even after the pumps have stopped running. As long as the wells are properly plugged, nothing too risky will happen. However, some people don’t correctly plug their wells,which can have serious consequences such as groundwater contamination, low-quality water, and poor air quality. Given all of this, it’s crucialto understand how well abandonment services work to protect yourself from the dangers of poorly abandoned wells.
1. Increase in Number of Abandoned Wells
In 2022 the U.S. EPA estimates that there are more than 3.5 million abandoned oil and gas wells in the country, of which only about 39% have undergone plugging. As the demand for drilling new wells continues to rise, so will the need for well-plugging services. The number of drilling rigs has been steadily increasing and will continue growing.
Also, each rig comes with operations, transportation, and pipelines, requiring a well-plugging service before decommissioning. When your well becomes unproductive, whether orphaned or no longer needed, Plug and Abandonment Services are necessary to ensure that it doesn’t pose any future risks. Whatever the reason, these services are essential for both environmental protection and safety purposes.
2. Increased Urgency to Plug Thousands of Wells Leaking Methane
As the effects of climate change intensify, the demand for well plug and abandonment services is on the rise. Scientists warn that subsidence from drilling can lead to sinkholes and surface depressions in regions where companies are tapping natural gas fields. Methane emissions from these wells leak into the atmosphere. As a more potent heat-trapping gas than CO2, methane has an outsized impact on climate change.
With more drilling and well abandonment on the rise, well leakages are still a hot topic. These leaks have caused more significant problems for residents near these leaking wells- including health issues, damage to their property values, and an environmental threat. It is no wonder why plugging an old well has never been so high on the agenda.
3. Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells Put Groundwater Supplies at Risk
Abandoned oil and gas wells in the United States put groundwater supplies at risk. There are estimated millions of abandoned wells across the country, with tens of thousands leaking. In California alone, there are over 200,000 inactive or abandoned well sites. Hence, these abandoned oil wells significantly threaten underground water sources.
Therefore, globallyaddressing this issue is essential to ensure everyone’s health and safety. As such, the demand for well plug and abandonment services is rising to help address these concerns. Such services include installing a steel casing in open or abandoned wellbores and plugging it with cement to prevent groundwater from coming in contact with hazardous chemicals and oil.
4. Need to Safeguard both Workers and the Environment
The need for well plug and abandonment services will continue to rise as the oil and gas industry continues to explore new areas and drill more wells. Safeguarding both workers and the environment is necessary for a successful future. Exposed wellbores can cause contamination of water supplies and other environmental damage while increasing worker safety risks.
Failure to properly abandon or seal off an abandoned well can lead to catastrophic environmental problems, including;
- Contaminated water supplies and soil
- Increased risk of explosions at home sites or in industrial plants
- Groundwater pollution from underground storage tanks leaks their contents
- Emissions of toxic air pollutants such as greenhouse gases into communities near well site
As people become more conscious of the environment and its dangers, the demand for these services will continue to increase.
Many companies offer well plug and abandonment services, but it’s essential to find one trustworthy and capable of handling any situation. You want to ensure the company will be there for you from start to finish–from application through completion–providing reliable and cost-effective solutions.