Risky Business | The Economic Risk of Climate Change in the US | Risky Business

Risky Business | The Economic Risk of Climate Change in the US | Risky Business.

Ohio University survey shows jobs, hotel occupancy rising because of Utica Shale play – Columbus – Columbus Business First

Ohio University survey shows jobs, hotel occupancy rising because of Utica Shale play – Columbus – Columbus Business First.

Reclaiming Abandoned Wells-bibliography

Sent: Thursday, December 26, 2013 2:16 PM
Subject: Costs to reclaim the land after abandonment
So how much does it cost to plug an abandoned oil or gas well and to reclaim the land? Of course, there is no quick and easy answer because there is plugging and there is plugging and what does one mean by reclaiming. This issue of bubbles takes a quick, elementary look at this issue.
First plugging: In the recent past, plugging might have been satisfied by dropping a treated wooden cylinder into the top of the well. As used telephone poles met the treating and dimensional requirements, they were used according to some sources. As to reclaiming, that could simply mean removing equipment, but might also include removal of pads, pipes, mud and water pits, roads, structures, and tanks as well as replanting of a re-graded surface; a wide range indeed.
What is out there on the web? The headlines are unsettling:
“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.”
And this story’s lead is also disturbing:
“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. “
So what does it really cost to plug and abandon a well and reclaim the land?
Plugging was covered about four years ago in a Propublica article, to wit:  “The task of finding, plugging and monitoring old wells is daunting to cash-strapped state governments. A shallow well in good condition can sometimes be plugged with cement for a few thousand dollars. But costs typically run into the tens of thousands, and a price tag of $100,000 or more isn’t unusual.” See http://www.propublica.org/article/deteriorating-oil-and-gas-wells-threaten-drinking-water-homes-across-the-co
Another estimate, for just the reclaiming costs, based on actual costs from 800 wells in New Mexico, estimate that reclaiming the surface of an abandoned well site costs between $16,500.00 to $50,000.00.
Several other sources have tried to answer these questions.
1.    Ohio has a question and answer page on this at http://oilandgas.ohiodnr.gov/orphanwellprogram
2.    New York regulations are discussed in a 26 page document at http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/materials_minerals_pdf/dgeisv1ch11.pdf.  The opening states “State law requires operators of most oil, gas and solution mining wells in New York State to maintain financial security with the Department to ensure that the wells are properly plugged and abandoned after their economic life is over. Financial security requirements were substantially increased in 1985 to more closely match the actual costs of plugging operations.”
2.Specific details about plugging etc. including some sketches are offered.
3.    Congressman Markey had made some inquiries about some abandoned wells in New Mexico and the following is illuminating: http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/handouts/WNRC%20110711%206%20Response%20to%20Markey%20Letter%20on%20GAO%20Report.doc
5.    A state by state table on bonding to cover clean up and plugging costs is at http://portal.ncdenr.org/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=d21aca89-8d97-46bc-aa59-d26667cc98ac&groupId=8198095
6.    There are a large number of wells that are abandoned, idle, or ‘orphaned.’ See http://groundwork.iogcc.org/sites/default/files/Orphaned%20Wells%20Case%20Study_0.pdf
9.    And an older report (fall 2007) by the National Energy Technology Laboratory goes into much detail on tracking and curtailing abandoned well problems from the Versailles Pennsylvania methane field drilled in the early 1900s. See http://www.netl.doe.gov/newsroom/versailles/Versailles%20Methane%20Emissions%20Project%20-%20Final%20Report.pdf
More digging should be undertaken, but the message seems to be: 1) Not all firms will be in a position to properly close down a drilling and production operations; 2) Requiring bonding, while a good idea, too often results in inadequate funds; 3) Taxing the industry to establish a fund to cover the expenses ultimately redounding to the state may well be prudent; and 4) State regulations as to definitions, what constitutes proper plugging and land reclamation need to be in place before drilling is undertaken.
Happy New Year
Edward K.

Six-State Study Confirms Job Numbers Exaggerated by Fracking Industry | EcoWatch

Six-State Study Confirms Job Numbers Exaggerated by Fracking Industry | EcoWatch.

As Marcellus Shale loses momentum, a reassessment

As Marcellus Shale loses momentum, a reassessment.

Winery Owners Call On Cuomo For Protection From Fracking | Business

Winery Owners Call On Cuomo For Protection From Fracking | Business.

Constitution Pipeline

Constitution Pipeline

June 29, 2013

Pipeline filing sets stage for FERC

By Joe Mahoney Staff WriterThe Daily Star

Boom and Bust in PA

New Studies Reinforce Positive Impact of Safe Natural Gas Development | NorthCentralPA.com.

1.  Manhattan Institute says “good news.” Using data from 2007 -2011 – the peak of rush drilling in PA, the boom time:

2. But, John Hangar, former PADEP Commish, says not so fast, points to the more recent “bust data:

John Hanger’s Facts of The Day: Key Facts & Analysis About PA’s Jobs Ranking, Gas Drilling Jobs, & Drug Usage Among Jobs Seekers Right Here.

Energy Is A Small Input In Manufacturing – Business Insider

Energy Is A Small Input In Manufacturing – Business Insider.

Marcellus Shale County Aims for Long-Term Gain – NYTimes.com

Marcellus Shale County Aims for Long-Term Gain – NYTimes.com.