Connect with us


14,000 oil and fuel wells stay unplugged within the Gulf of Mexico



An offshore oil rig within the Gulf of Mexico

Shutterstock / nektofadeev

Greater than 14,000 inactive oil and fuel wells stay uncapped within the Gulf of Mexico. Leaks from the wells may hurt marine ecosystems and add to planet-warming methane emissions, however plugging them would price billions.

Mark Agerton on the College of California, Davis, and his colleagues collected information from the US Bureau of Security and Environmental Enforcement on the 82,000 wells drilled within the Gulf of Mexico. Whereas many of the wells have been plugged and deserted, they discovered that greater than 14,000 are unplugged, regardless of having been inactive for not less than 5 years, a degree past which they’re unlikely to restart manufacturing.

Operators are legally required to plug wells as soon as they’re taken out of manufacturing, which normally includes a cement cap coated with sediment. Just a little over 5000 wells stay lively.

Oil leaking out of the wells, particularly these nearest shore, may hurt marine ecosystems. Wells close to shore may additionally leak methane that may go on to succeed in the environment. The researchers discovered methane leaking from wells in deeper water additional offshore would principally be consumed by marine microbes.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, which resulted from a surge of pure fuel blowing via a briefly capped effectively, illustrates a worst-case state of affairs. Not like that effectively, nevertheless, lots of the unplugged wells are tapped out, and it’s unclear what impacts many small persistent leaks may have. “We’re not thinking as much about catastrophic blowouts,” says Agerton.

An infrastructure invoice handed by the US Congress in late 2021 devoted $4.7 billion to plugging orphaned onshore and offshore wells, however David Pettit on the Nationwide Sources Protection Council says “there’s no chance” that each effectively shall be plugged. “There’s not enough administrative interest or money,” he says.

The researchers estimated that plugging all of the inactive wells would price greater than $30 billion; plugging solely wells in shallow waters would price round $7 billion. For wells in federal waters, the oil firms that dug them are accountable for plugging them – they usually stay on the hook even when a effectively they drilled is offered to a smaller operator who can’t pay to plug. In state waters, the price of plugging such “orphaned” wells may fall to the state.

The researchers say US businesses ought to focus efforts on the shallow-water wells that pose the best environmental risk and are the most affordable to plug.


Supply hyperlink

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Copyright © 2022 - NatureAndSystems - All Rights Reserved