It never ends: damning new study after study, contamination case after contamination case, home/water explosion after explosion, fire after fire, death after death while industry, its enabling regulators, judges, lawyers and politicians lie and lie to enable the harms.
A comment to the post:
Awesome list of studies
We always knew it they always knew it
Now they want others to pay for another externality
2021 06 20: Canada underestimated methane emissions from abandoned wells by as much as 150 per cent; Texas and Alberta have highest percentage of wells but no prior pollution measurement. Of course not, Alberta is Hell where regulators help Encana/Ovintiv illegally frac community drinking water aquifers. Kassie Siegel, director Climate Law Institute: “Big Oil is getting rich. For individual, ordinary people, it’s all risk and no reward.”
2020: The biggest con ever? Millions of abandoned wells enabled by politicians, regulators & courts. Oil, gas ‘n frac industry rapes, profits ‘n runs, hangs the public with clean up, a climate menace & endless health harms & cruelty
2020 02 19: Another new study unravels oil & gas industry lies: Levels of fossil methane naturally released are about 10 times lower than previously reported while man-made are 25-40% higher! Benjamin Hmiel: “We’ve identified a gigantic discrepancy.”
2020 01 20: AER laid five environmental and conservation-related charges against Tourmaline Oil and spinoff Topaz Energy Corp., and three charges against CWC Energy Services for knowingly leaking sour gas (H2S) “that impacted human health” in 2018 near Spirit River, Alberta. Court hearing Feb 19, 2020 in Grand Prairie. Why no charges against Encana, now Ovintiv, for its illegal sour gas venting near Rosebud and illegally operating a sour gas facility and wells as sweet?
2019: Holy Frac-a-Leaky-Moly! New study in BC. Atmospheric pressure can dramatically affect how much industry’s leaking natural gas might escape from subsurface into atmosphere. “Decreases in barometric-pressure led to surface gas breakthroughs (more than 20-fold increase in less than 24 hrs), even in the presence of low-permeability surficial soils.”
2018: Bow Island, Alberta: “Water” well beside Chantel Timmons’ home leaking white foam & dangerous levels natural gas. Is it an abandoned shallow gas well or historic stratigraphic test well? Charter violating, No Public Interest or Public Health mandate, “No Duty of Care” AER shirking its duties, yet again
2017: Legal matters: Fracking the golf course. Ask Indian Hills Golf Course, Lambton Shores, Ontario: Did nature, waste injection, gas storage or fracking causing massive natural gas geysers and erupting greens in 2015? Two municipalities declared state of emergency, Golf Course had to shut down, pay to investigate and clean up
2017: To Honour the Fallen on Remembrance Day: Make public AER’s secret “D79 Abandoned Well Methane Toxicity Preliminary Assessment” & Appendix 2 by Alberta Health, Admitting “Acute-Life threatening” risks & “Neurological effects”
2016: Whistleblower: High Ranking EPA Official Covered Up Methane Leakage Problems Across US Natural Gas Industry; Inspector General called to investigate scientific fraud risking safety of workers, communities
2016: Obama administration announces historic new regulations for methane emissions from oil & gas. Meanwhile back in Canada, politicians & environmental NGOs engage in fraud to con the world, enable increases in oilfield emissions & health harms
2014: Industry Fuming because Study Finds Newer and Unconventional Gas Wells Leak Methane More than Older and Conventional Wells; Problem Could be Nation-wide Putting Aquifers and Families at Risk Assessment and risk analysis of casing and cement impairment in oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania, 2000–2012 by Anthony R. Ingraffea, Martin T. Wellsc, Renee L. Santorob, and Seth B. C. Shonkoffd
2013: Brief review of threats to Canada’s groundwater from the oil and gas industry’s methane migration and hydraulic fracturing Many cases presented in this brief, of people killed in their own homes by industry’s leaking gases.
Many more cross references beneath the article and many more on this website.
Plugging abandoned oil and gas wells could help save the environment – and jobs by Jeff Berardelli, June 29, 202, CBS NewsWatch Dr. Ingraffea’s interview at link.
Drilling for oil and gas has a long history in the U.S., dating all the way back to 1859 when the first successful commercial oil well — the Drake Well — was drilled in northwestern Pennsylvania. This long history has made the state ground zero for abandoned wells, which often leak dangerous pollution into the environment and potent greenhouse gases like methane into the air.
It is estimated there may be a few hundred thousand abandoned wells in Pennsylvania — some located in the woods, along riverbanks, in people’s yards and even inside their homes. These wells are left behind — orphaned to the state — after their owners, often oil and gas companies, go bankrupt or when the wells fall into disrepair.
Once in state hands, it is the government’s responsibility to plug the wells when they break. The EPA estimates there may be over 2 million abandoned wells across the nation.
In early June, we followed Don Cornell of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to an emergency call in the town of Bradford to plug a leaking well in someone’s backyard.
“This old oil and gas well came in because the landowner had a complaint. He noticed he had a puddle of oil in his backyard,” explained Cornell.
Cornell says most of the wells that they deal with are from the early 1900s; there is no current owner and the companies are long gone or went bankrupt. “They didn’t take care of the wells back when they were first drilled and walked away,” he said.
“I’ve been in this position now for almost 11 years and I’m still amazed with what we come across, where the wells are in streams in the river — islands on the Allegheny River, there’s wells there,” Cornell said.
Even inside people’s houses?
“Yep. In basements and foundations, they’re just everywhere. And their driveways, when they don’t know about it until one day oil start seeping up through their driveway.”
Leaking wells are not only a local environmental hazard — they can also be a big contributor to warming the climate. Dr. Tony Ingraffea, a Cornell University professor and expert in this field, says many of these wells leak methane — a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide.
“Especially during the first 10 years, that methane molecule traps 100 times [the heat] that carbon dioxide does,” Ingraffea explained. That’s why he says says there is an urgency to plugging these wells: “Turn down methane and you get an immediate response.”
Cornell says there are over 10,000 documented wells in his state and possibly hundreds of thousands more that are undocumented. But the problem is funding. Right now, Pennsylvania has a yearly budget of about $1.5 million for this work, but Cornell says that only covers about 30 wells a year.
That’s why the state is hoping for a windfall from the federal government. In President’s Biden’s climate plan, he proposed $16 billion to plug wells and clean up abandoned mines. So far, this funding has survived, and made it into the bipartisan infrastructure deal.
Cornell said the federal money “would be huge” for Pennsylvania. “The public safety aspect. Stopping pollution. The jobs for contractors and citizens to come out and do this work. It would be huge.”
While these wells are a big environmental threat, experts say they are also a huge job creation opportunity, especially for displaced fossil fuel workers.
A new study by Ted Boettner of the Ohio Valley River Institute, a clean energy group, finds that plugging abandoned wells in the four-state area of Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania alone could create over 15,000 jobs per year over 20 years.
Berardelli: “So this is a win-win. We’re stopping methane from getting into the atmosphere and we’re putting a lot of people to work?”
Boettner: “Yeah, absolutely. These are economically distressed areas that suffer greatly from the deindustrialization and the collapse of the coal industry as well. This is about creating jobs where people want to work and want to live and not about training them, or dislocating people to places they don’t want to be.”
Ingraffea agrees, but he argues the oil and gas companies should bear most of the burden.
“It’s the industry that drilled the well. It’s the industry that made money from the well. It’s the industry that was supposed to follow regulations for proper design, proper construction, proper maintenance and ownership of that well forever — and now they are saying let the taxpayers pay for it? No. No. The money has to come from the shareholders. The money has to come from the coffers of the oil and gas industry. They made the mess. They clean it up,” Ingraffea said.
But in Boettner’s view, the problem is just too big and money from the federal government can go a long way to help.
“In 2018 states only spent about $53 million. Plugging orphan wells, if you look at the entire problem, that number could be about over $60 billion around this country, just dealing with the orphan wells,” he said. “So states are really struggling to deal with this problem. And this is a good example where the federal government can come in and provide some investment and get people back to work in jobs that they want to have.”
Jeff Berardelli is a meteorologist and climate specialist for CBS News.
Refer also to:
California: Suspected methane leak destroys home in explosion, injures two people inside, seriously damages house next door; Gas levels too high to safely investigate, source unknown: “The methane could be from abandoned oil wells under the home or nearby oil fields”
How stupid can you get PA DEP? Withdraws record $8.9 Million fine in settlement exchange with Range Resources to fix the company’s drinking water and stream polluting, vegetation killing methane leaker, which of course, Range refuses to do.
Investigation finds Anadarko guilty, not Nature in Firestone Colorado home explosion: Investigators say industry’s gas migrated into home from abandoned flow line attached to energy well, killed two, injured two. How many homes globally have industry’s methane migrating into them, putting lives at risk with regulators everywhere looking the other way?
Firestone, Weld Co, Colorado record fine by more than 11 times for industry’s leaking methane caused home explosion killing two, injuring two others. COGCC seeking $18.25 Million against Kerr McGee, subsidiary of Anadarko most recently sold to Occidental Petroleum
Satellites show major new methane leaks: Oil and gas industry responsible for far more methane in atmosphere than previously thought; Undetected methane leaks from energy industry are major global issue
Colorado: Another *recently* capped energy well leaking in a community. “Who wants one of those in their neighborhood?”
Kansas: Industry’s “natural” gas from abandoned energy wells leaking into massive underground storage field, creating public safety hazard
Ohio Energy Regulator Blaming Nature on First Day of Fatal Home Explosion Investigation, “these pockets are naturally occurring and not the result of human interaction, such as hydraulic fracturing or other gas wells”
Netherlands: 50 years after catastrophic blowout, natural gas reservoir still leaking methane into local drinking water aquifer. No evidence of leak above ground, but water wells are contaminated with enough methane to merit immediate action to prevent explosions. Meanwhile, nothing but bullying and lying by “regulators” is done in Alberta where water wells are contaminated with dangerous levels of methane from fracking, even illegal frac’ing of community aquifers by Encana
Another frac mess! 200 Evacuated, Nearly 70 homes damaged in Marinza, Albania; Canadian firm Bankers Petroleum Ltd (has steam injection pilot project there), was at 500 metres depth when “volcanos” of gas, mud (chemicals?) and water erupted
Diana Daunheimer’s Excellent Summation of AER & CAPP’s Evil Synergy Alberta as to why Trudeau govt caves in to oil & gas industry pathetic whines about costs, Delays requiring reductions in industry’s leaking methane for 2 years (and if reelected, for 4 more years?)
Lexin Resources complies with safety orders after AER sounds alarm; What about the leaking methane ordered repaired? Is that fixed yet? Is the “watchdog” monitoring area aquifers and citizen water wells for methane and H2S contamination? Or not, the way it’s not at Rosebud?
Gaspé, Québec: Plusieurs puits abandonnées fuient encore; Several abandoned energy wells still leaking; Natural Resources Ministry handing out permits for more drilling instead of fixing the life threatening problems
And, when drinking water is contaminated with industry’s abandoned or leaking new shale wells leaking methane? Or Encana/Ovintiv intentionally illegally frac’ing a community’s drinnking water aquifers? Authorities and polluters blame nature and or the water well owner (for being dirty), of course.
In above photo, a Quebec cattle producer’s methane contaminated water on the left; Ernst’s methane and ethane contaminated water on the right.
Yet another new study: USA Permian Frac Basin leaking massive amounts of methane, “the largest source ever observed in an oil and gas field,” more than double federal estimates. How many decades will the frac fraud go on for and why do main media, NGOs and synergy groups keep enabling the fraud?
The insanely polluting leaking oil & gas industry! New paper on methane leak detection & repair: More than 1,600 leaks & vents at only 36 sites in NW Alberta. Think of the cumulative pollution, community poisoning and public health harms, notably as more and more companies, enabled by politicians (industry’s maids), regulators and courts, use bankruptcy to avoid clean up.
METHANE: A flash fire, third-degree burns and an investigation without end: “The reason we’re not seeing a determination is because there’s really only one determination they can make…And they don’t want to make it.”
Ontario: In Norfolk, leaking abandoned industry *sour* gas wells forces exclusion zone for vehicles, vessels, and evacuation of 22 homes. In nearby Town of Jarvis (population 2,300), unusually high methane readings, firefighters test gas levels at every home. Compare to grossly negligent, “No Duty of Care,” Charter-violating, lying, spying, heinous AER covering-up industry’s deadly gas leaks.
After decades of lies to landowners and the public by CAPP, industry & energy regulators, University of Guelph Study Proves Potentially Explosive Methane Leaks from Energy Wells Affects Groundwater, Travels Great Distances, Poses Safety Risks. Will the lies stop now? Not Likely. Will groundwater monitoring begin now? Not Likely.
New University of Guelph study on methane migration in sand aquifer in Ontario: “Potentially explosive methane gas leaking from energy wells may travel extensively through groundwater and pose a safety risk”
Dimock Pennsylvania: In ‘Gasland’ community, Cabot Oil & Gas continues to refuse to fix the aquifer the company contaminated with dangerous levels of methane but buys out contaminated homes, demolishing them, while blaming nature.
Frac ‘n Fraud Down Under: Origin Energy execs kept aquifer contamination secret for more than 1.5 years, knew CSG (CBM) wells leaking into aquifers. Are Origin Energy CSG (CBM) wells contaminating Condamine River with ‘intensifying’ methane bubbling too?
2,258 families in temporary housing, 111 staying with family or friends, 3,162 in placement process. Growing environmental disaster in LA: Monster industry-created methane leak revealed in new aerial infrared video. What happens if SoCalGas can’t fix their leak? Was the leaking gas frac’d? Is it radioactive?
Saskatchewan Geological Survey Geologist to Ernst in 2006: Methane detectors will not protect you; If they warn of industry’s natural gas leaking into your home or venting from water taps, it’s usually too late to get out safely. Weld County Colorado offering explosive gas detectors to residents for free
My methane and ethane and who knows what mystery frac chemicals contaminated water after Encana/Ovintiv illegally frac’d my community’s drinking water aquifers, with regulator fraud and cover-up to help them get away with it. Encana also frac’d drinking water aquifers in Pavillion Wyoming with similar regulator fraud and cover-up assistance.
“Water” well at Hutchinson
Many more posts of explosions and fatalities from industry knowingly causing methane to leak into buildings, homes, and aquifers, with companies and athorities not warning impacted communities, and after the murders, blaming nature with regulators, politicians and NGOs dancing happily along. There’s not enough time for one (unpaid) person to list them all.
The fraudulent industry, regulator and expert investigation into the 1985 California Dress for Less explosion inspired the criminal idea to blame bacteria – no matter what caused the leak(s) or how many are injured/killed and how many non-oil patch businesses are destroyed:
A devious set-up, threatening life on earth everywhere, only to make a few people richer.
Years later, the truth came out:
Still reguators, NGOs, courts, and politicians enable the Big Lie and innocent families blow up and are killed in their own homes.
How many “natural” wild fires are made worse by the oil and gas industry’s leaking methane?
… It was April 19, 1973 when hundreds of craters and geysers mysteriously appeared around the village near Traverse City. The 100 to 150 craters ranged from teacup-size fissures to sinkholes measuring up to 25 feet wide and 15 feet deep.
State officials eventually determined the outbreak was caused by gas seeping underground from a natural gas drilling operation four miles away, but not before most of the town’s 450 people were evacuated and displaced for months.
M-72, a highway that was just 3 years old at the time of the incident, was virtually destroyed and the community’s town hall was also threatened, according to a United Press International story published on April 20, 1973.
“The town hall was on the verge of toppling today as gaseous, bubbling craters popped open threatening a massive gas eruption,” the article stated.
“The earth around town hall is almost completely eaten up,” said Grand Traverse County Police Sgt. Tom Schmuckal in the article. “It is less than a foot from surrounding the entire foundation.”
Well E1-22, located south of Williamsburg and owned by Amoco Production Co., then a subsidiary Standard Oil of Indiana, was first indicted by a Department of Natural Resources spokesmen as the cause of the eruptions in the article. … Many feared that a single spark could set off a massive explosion in the community. …
Slides above from Ernst presentations