TEXAS TO RECEIVE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS IN FEDERAL FUNDING FOR ORPHAN WELLS
Texas has a serious problem with orphaned wells and while the state might not have a plan the federal government does. The Department of the Interior has announced that Texas will receive over $343 million to cap orphan wells.
Orphan wells are inactive oil and gas wells owned by defunct or bankrupt companies. An inactive well can pose an environmental hazard by leaking toxic chemicals into groundwater or methane in the air, so companies are legally required to plug wells with concrete when they’re done with them. However, since the owners of orphan wells either can’t afford to plug them or don’t even exist anymore, chances are they won’t get plugged unless the government intervenes.
The problem has become particularly acute in Texas, where over a hundred oil and gas companies have filed for bankruptcy over the past six years. Texas now has 6,489 documented orphan wells, although this is likely undercounting the true number as recent analysis suggests the United States has a lot more orphan wells than previously thought.