June 21, 2016
The recent oil bust has meant job cutbacks and layoffs. Another problem has been what to do with abandoned drilling sites. States have little money available to plug wells and contain environmental hazards.
In Texas, the $165 million necessary to plugging close to 10,000 abandoned wells is double the budget of the agency regulating the industry. The issue is forcing states to squeeze money from other sources. While Texas regulators want taxpayers to foot a part of the clean-up bill, Wyoming and Louisiana are charging steeper fees to Drillers.
Even if these solutions work, they likely won’t meet the growing backlog of orphaned wells. Officials in the Lone Star State believe the number of untended wells could grow to 12,000, 25% above what regulators can’t keep up with currently.