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Edwards marks capping of 100 orphaned wells; thousands remain


Edwards marks capping of 100 orphaned wells; thousands remain

Mar 24, 2023 | 3:57 pm ET
By Louisiana Illuminator
Edwards marks capping of 100 orphaned wells; thousands remain
A photo of an orphaned oil well in St. Martin Parish taken in 2010. (Louisiana Department of Natural Resources)

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced this week that more than 100 orphaned oil and gas wells have been plugged over two months thanks to money made available to Louisiana through the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Another 30-plus wells will be handled before the end of the month, according to the governor’s office.  

The federal resources have allowed the state to accelerate its efforts to contain more than 4,500 orphaned wells, the bulk of which are in North Louisiana. Left unaddressed, the unplugged sites can lead to methane, oil or saltwater contamination.  

The state Department of Natural Resources has hired two contractors with the money from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Their crews have completed work on 52 orphaned wells in the Shreveport area and 51 more in the Monroe area. The teams are expected to have continuous well-plugging work through October. 

Overall, $1.15 billion has been set aside for orphaned wells nationwide in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). Louisiana’s first grant totaled $25 million, more than double the amount the state appropriates for abandoned well mitigation projects. Additional BIL money will be directed to states this year, although no details have been announced. 

More than 3,100 of the state’s roughly 4,500 orphaned well sites are in the Monroe and Shreveport areas.

This week, Gov. Edwards announced the launch of an interactive map —  infrastructure.la.gov — with BIL projects broken down by type and congressional district.

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