IOGCC says 343,000 US wells are shut in

The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission said Tuesday the number of idle US oil and gas wells has increased more than 58,000 in the last 4 years to 343,030. The IOGCC report updated studies in 1992 and 1996.

Aug 2nd, 2000


The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission said Tuesday the number of idle US oil and gas wells has increased more than 58,000 in the last 4 years to 343,030. The IOGCC report updated studies in 1992 and 1996.

Christine Hansen, IOGCC executive director, said, "The increase in the number of idle wells can be partially attributed to the low oil prices seen in 1997-99. Many state regulators developed programs that allowed operators to idle wells for longer than normal to save these wells from being permanently sealed because of poor profitability."

Hansen said those states have focused on the long-term benefit of preserving production capacity rather than on short-term tax collections.

"State regulators across the country have recognized the problems posed by orphaned wells. They have pushed for increased funding for plugging and have successfully stretched their existing dollars by developing a priority list of wells to be plugged."

She said the number of orphaned wells has decreased 10% in the past 4 years.

"This decrease is important but does not significantly reduce states' plugging expenses. There are more than 42,000 wells on waiting lists to be permanently sealed using state money, placing a growing burden on the budgets of state oil and gas regulatory agencies."

IOGCC represents the governors of 30 oil and gas producing states.

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