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Wyoming Idle and Orphan Well Draft Plan

December 11, 2013

Governor Mead released a statement providing information on his proposal to include a $3 million allocation in the state budget to address an estimated backlog of 1,220 abandoned wells on state and private land in Wyoming.  The $3 million allocation is a component of his proposed state budget that will be debated during the upcoming Budget Session of the Wyoming Legislature.

In a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Joint Minerals, Business and Economic Development Interim Committee on December 9, 2013, the Governor described how the $3 million allocation will be utilized, along with existing bond revenue, to aggressively address the backlog of abandoned wells over the next four years. The Governor attached his proposed plan to the letter and requested the the Committee’s review and input.

Governor’s proposed plan calls for a coordinated, but accelerated approach under which a task force consisting of representatives from the Governor’s Policy Office, the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Office of State Lands, and the State Engineers Office will be formed to coordinate efforts and information related to idle and orphan well plugging and reclamation plans.  The Governor’s plan also recommends the establishment of a contract manager to oversee plugging prioritization, scheduling and administration.

While the plan indicates a current estimate of 1,220 abandoned wells, that number is expected to rise depending upon the classification of an additional 912 idle Lucas/Patriot wells that are located in the Power River Basin, identification of additional orphaned wells, and inclusion of “at risk” wells.

It is important to note that this proposal only applies to wells located on state land for fee (private) land. The Governor’s draft plan recommends that state agencies coordinate with federal land management agencies to ensure coordinated approaches to abandoned wells on federal lands.


Governor’s press release:

The Letter to the Chairman of the Minerals Committee to and the Governor’s “Wyoming Idle and Orphan Well Draft Plan”:

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