The Problems:

  • I. Gas from oil layers can come to the surface through the well bore and collect in buildings with potentially explosive results.

House 		explosion fire
House explodes from leaking abandoned gas well.

Families flee out-of-control natural-gas leak at eastern Ohio fracking well

Perilous Pathways: How Drilling Near An Abandoned Well Produced a Methane Geyser

Tap Water Torches: How Faulty Gas Drilling Can Lead To Methane Migration

  • II. Methane is also a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global climate change.

Video of Gas bubbling from an abandoned well.

Princeton article on methane leaking from abandoned wells.

Study finds ‘significant’ methane leaking from abandoned wells.

Derelict Oil Wells May Be Major Methane Emitters

  • III. Gas can contaminate drinking water wells.

Article: Report Confirms Oil and Gas Drilling Has Contaminated Well Water

In Northeast Pennsylvania, Methane Migration Means Flammable Puddles And 30-Foot Geysers

Chesapeake to Pay $1.6 Million for Contaminating Water Wells in Bradford County

The Simple Facts on Stray Gas Migration

  • IV. Surface runoff can use the well bore as a conduit to contaminate nearby water wells.

  • V. Oil that reaches the surface from abandoned wells pollutes the soil and surface water.

Leaking oil well

Oil leaking from base of well.

Leaking well

Oil and water leaking into stream.

Video: Water flowing from well into stream.

  • VI. Salt brine, oil and gas from the oil bearing layers can use the well bore to reach and pollute fresh water layers or discharge at the surface into nearby streams.

After flowing for days DEP plugged this well in Oil Creek State Park, PA

  • VII. In coal mining areas, well bores allow natural gas, and acidic mine water to reach the surface.

Acid mine water flowing from well casing.

  • VIII. Abandoned wells that collapse inward are a physical threat to outdoor hikers and hunters.

Open hole
Open hole from collapsed abandoned well.

The solution to all of these problems is proper plugging of the well.

Risks of abandoned (DEP slide presentation)

The Simple Facts on Stray Gas Migration

DEP Plugs abandoned wells in Erie County

DEP orders gas well plugging after explosion

Problem with abandoned wells

DEP's Plan for plugging orphan wells

The dangers of injection wells

DEP - Abandoned & Orphan Well Program

Will there be future abandoned wells?

Abandoned Unconventional Natural Gas Wells: A Looming Problem for Pennsylvania?