Texas Becomes 1st State to Plug Wells Using Federal Funds  | Rigzone

Texas Becomes 1st State to Plug Wells Using Federal Funds  | Rigzone

The Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) announced recently that Texas became the first state in the U.S. to begin plugging abandoned oil and gas wells using federal grants from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Plugging work began earlier this month on an abandoned oil and gas well in Refugio County in South Texas, the RRC revealed, adding that the organization anticipates the initial grant will be used to plug approximately 800 abandoned wells.

The RRC noted that these would be in addition to 1,000 wells the agency anticipates will be plugged this year by the State Managed Plugging Program (SMP), which the RRC highlighted uses industry fee and fine revenue from the Oil and Gas Regulatory and Cleanup Fund.

“The RRC’s success and expertise with SMP was instrumental in quickly standing up the plugging project using federal funds,” RRC Assistant Director of the Oil and Gas Division for Field Operations Clay Woodul said in an RRC statement.

“Our established workplans and contracting will continue to help ensure neighborhoods and the environment across Texas are kept safe through our well plugging work,” he added.

On August 26, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced that Texas had been awarded an initial grant of $25 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to begin work to plug, cap and reclaim orphaned oil and gas wells across the state. 

The DOI noted at the time that Texas had indicated that it would utilize the funding to plug 800 documented wells, which the DOI said were selected based on their higher risk as indicated by greater depth and hydrogen sulfide emissions.

“Funds will be used to acquire equipment and vehicles, and hire personnel, including four administrative positions and 20 inspectors to witness contracted well plugging,” the DOI stated back in August.

“Additionally, Texas plans to use this funding to develop a methodology to measure and track methane and other gases,” the DOI added.

The DOI revealed on August 26 that Oklahoma, Ohio, Michigan, Louisiana, Kentucky, Illinois and Arizona had also been awarded initial grants of $25 million to plug orphaned oil and gas wells.

To contact the author, email andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com

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