Texas Railroad Commission plugs wrong well in gulf

A contractor for the Railroad Commission of Texas plugged the wrong well in the Gulf of Mexico, according to Gulf Energy Exploration, a privately owned oil and gas company based in Austin.

Guntis Moritis
OGJ Production Editor

HOUSTON, May 19 -- A contractor for the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) plugged the wrong well in the Gulf of Mexico, according to Gulf Energy Exploration Corp., a privately owned oil and gas company based in Austin.

In Texas, operators post a bond with RRC that spans the time from spud to plugging of a well. In the event an operator fails to plug the well and walks away from the operation, the bond provides RRC with funds to abandon the orphaned well.

Gulf Energy says a previous operator orphaned the wells that RRC included in a plugging and abandonment contract for wells off Texas.

Gulf Energy and a partner company acquired the leases surrounding these orphans and made an agreement with the previous operator also to acquire the wellbores. Gulf Energy says it made another agreement with RRC for plugging some neighboring wells with no future use, but clearly specified the wells to leave out of the contract, such as Well No. 5 on Matagorda Island Block 708.

Gulf Energy says the abandonment contractor used wrong coordinates and plugged the No. 5 well and left a useless well unplugged.

The RRC acknowledged their mistake while meeting with the company, but later refused to provide the relief requested in the amount of $2.5 million to correct their mistake, Gulf Energy said.

After it petitioned the Texas legislature, the Texas State Senate Committee on Jurisprudence unanimously passed a resolution on May 13 that allows Gulf Energy to pursue its claim against RRC, the company says.

Contact Guntis Moritis at guntism@ogjonline.com.

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