BLM releases draft plan to clean up NPR-A legacy wells

The US Bureau of Land Management’s Anchorage, Alas., office released a draft plan listing near-term priorities and actions to plug and clean up legacy wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, but the draft quickly drew fire from the state’s senior US senator.

Lisa Murkowski (R), the Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s ranking minority, said BLM’s action was a step in the right direction. “But I’m concerned that the agency appears to have unilaterally decided that more than half of the wells don’t require remediation,” she said, adding, “That’s not the federal government’s decision to make—that’s up to the State of Alaska.”

BLM Alaska State Director Bud Cribley, meanwhile, said, “This plan lays out an aggressive strategy to address some of the highest priority wells. Full remediation of the wells that BLM has inherited will require tremendous resources over the coming years, but [it] is committed to working with the state and villages to get the job done.”

Of 136 wells the US Navy and US Geological Survey drilled within NPR-A between 1944 and 1982, BLM said more than half require no further action because they have been remediated or pose no threat to the public or environment.

Another 18 wells are in use by USGS as part of climate change monitoring in the Arctic, it said. The remaining 50 wells will, according to assessments conducted by BLM, require various levels of additional cleanup work, the US Department of the Interior agency indicated.

Priority wells identified

BLM said the strategic plan identifies 16 priority wells for cleanup, including some that pose high risks to the surface. Three well sites on the Simpson Peninsula where solid waste was left behind by the Navy, including half barrels and other drums submerged in oil seeps, are priority cleanup sites, for example, BLM said.

The federal government has spent nearly $86 million plugging 18 legacy wells and cleaning the surface at priority sites since 2002, it noted. The Navy and USGS originally drilled the wells to gather geologic data or to identify petroleum reserves. BLM inherited the responsibility to assess, and if necessary, plug and clean up wells and surface sites in 1982, it said.

Murkowski said only 16 of the 136 wells have been properly plugged, and 7 of those were taken care of by the North Slope Borough, not by BLM, which is responsible for them.

The remaining 120 wells are in various conditions of noncompliance with state law, she said. The drill sites—many of which are contaminated by wood, metal, plastic, glass, and concrete debris—are also littered with rusting barrels once filled with contaminants, the senator said.

“Let me be clear: These wells were drilled by the federal government, so the cleanup is solely the responsibility of the federal government,” she said. “I expect the federal government to live up to the same high environmental standards that it holds private oil companies to—Alaskans won’t tolerate a double standard.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

EPA approves Magellan’s Corpus Christi splitter project

12/12/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final greenhouse gas prevention of significant deterioration construction permit to Magellan Pr...

Keyera to take majority interest in Alberta gas plant

12/12/2014 Keyera Corp., Calgary, will pay $65 million (Can.) to buy a 70.79% ownership interest in the Ricinus deep-cut gas plant in west-central Alberta.

PBF Energy, PBF Logistics make management changes

12/12/2014 Matthew Lucey, currently executive vice-president of PBF Energy Inc., will succeed Michael Gayda as the company’s president. Todd O’Malley, current...

TAEP: TPI still peaking, but ‘contraction unavoidable’ as oil prices fall

12/12/2014 The Texas Petro Index (TPI), a composite index based on a comprehensive group of upstream economic indicators released by the Texas Alliance of Ene...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil price extends slump

12/12/2014 Crude oil prices extended their slump on the New York market with a Dec. 11 settlement of less than $60/bbl for January, and prices continued downw...

US needs more data before ending crude export ban, House panel told

12/11/2014 Much more environmental impact information is needed before the US can reasonably remove crude oil export limits, a witness told a House Energy and...

BOEM raises offshore oil spill liability limit to $134 million

12/11/2014 The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management increased the liability limit for oil-spill related damages from offshore operations to $134 million from ...

Rosneft, Essar sign terms of oil supply agreement

12/11/2014 OAO Rosneft and Essar Energy PLC have signed key terms of an oil supply agreement in New Delhi. Rosneft said shipments to India may begin in 2015.

Barton introduces bill to remove US crude export limits

12/11/2014

US Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) introduced legislation that would remove US crude oil export limits that have been in place for nearly 40 years.

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected