The Interior Department, did not respond to requests for comment

federal land

Cleaning up the tens of thousands oil and gas wells on U.S. federal land after they stop producing could cost over $6 billion, and taxpayers may need to pitch in, according to an analysis of state and federal data commissioned by a conservation watchdog group.

The Interior Department requires oil and gas companies to post reclamation bonds of $10,000 per well when they drill on federal land, to ensure that wells are cleaned up once they are retired or if a company goes bankrupt.

The report estimated, however, that the average cost of a well reclamation is now $65,200, with deeper wells that are becoming more common due to improved drilling technology costing around $100,000 to clean up.

Typically, if a company does not reclaim a well site, its bond is forfeited. If the bond is not enough to cover the cleanup, the government pays the difference.

LINK (via: Reuters)

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