The first successful use of a drilling rig on a well drilled especially to produce oil was made in 1859. One estimate suggests that since then, 3.5 million oil and gas wells have been drilled in North America. Because many wells were drilled before well permit regulations were introduced, this number may be even higher, reaching estimates of 4 million.
Ideally, when a well reaches the end of its life cycle, it is properly plugged to prevent leaks and pollution, and then considered inactive. However, over the years, many wells were plugged with nothing more than wooden logs, not plugged to today’s standards, or even left uncapped and abandoned by irresponsible owners. Numerous studies have been done and articles written about abandoned wells that pollute groundwater supplies, emit methane gas, and cause potential explosion and contamination hazards to residential areas and farm land. No one knows for certain how many abandoned wells exist in the U.S., but again, estimates place the number at around 2 million. Many of these wells are referred to as orphan wells because they cannot be traced back to their owner or the company responsible for the well has gone out of business.
“The Radius BZ1 monitors met the Ohio Department of Natural Resources requirements, and ensured proper protection of our site, the landowner’s house, and the residential neighborhood surrounding the site,” said Mr. Gonzalez, President of GonzOil.