The state-managed plugging program of Railroad Commission of Texas exceeded its goal of plugging orphaned oil and gas wells for the sixth straight year. The commission said as of July 13 its staff had plugged 1,057 wells – above the goal of 1,000 wells by the end of the fiscal year August 31. “The plugging program is critical to our commitment of protecting public safety and the environment,” Clay Woodul, assistant director of the RRC oil and gas division, said.
Keith May, project director, said the program faced challenges this year of inflation, labor shortages and a large number of high-pressure wells that developed leaks that were complex and costly to plug. Goal for 2023 again is 1,000.
RRC expects to plug at least an additional 1,000 wells in 2023 with extra funding from U.S. Department of Interior, which announced $1.15 billion in U.S. funding. Texas is receiving an initial grant of $25 million and also $82.56 million in Phase I formula funds. DOI is processing applications before distributing funds. “Federal funding will have different requirements,” May said, “so we will be issuing work orders to our contractors specifying what funding source will be used.”