Orphan wells are a ticking time bomb that can contaminate groundwater, soil, and release harmful gases into the atmosphere. They not only endanger the environment but also pose health and safety risks to nearby communities. Louisiana, with its extensive history of oil and gas extraction, has roughly 4,500 orphaned wells that require immediate attention. As of December 2020, there are over 97,213 documented orphan wells throughout the United States. But that number leaves out the hundreds of thousands of additional undocumented orphaned wells that remain.
One of the most significant impacts of LEMOINE’s orphan well plugging project is the enhancement of Louisiana’s environmental resilience. As climate change intensifies, and the frequency of natural disasters increases, it is essential for states to fortify their ecosystems and infrastructure. Plugging these wells reduces the risk of environmental disasters, ensuring that communities have a stronger defense against future challenges.
Apart from the environmental and social benefits, LEMOINE’s project also has had a positive economic impact. Job creation, increased property values, and the reduction of potential liabilities are just a few of the economic advantages that come with properly plugging orphan wells. This, in turn, strengthens the state’s economic resilience.
As LEMOINE moved through the development of the plan, they started recruiting local P&A companies and forming alliances of small providers in disadvantaged communities. With a target of wells established with LDNR, LEMOINE created buyout packages for each well with local vendors. The company helped them with funding, compliance, and reporting; provided company men, safety officers, and well site supervisors; de-risked the jobsites; and brought in A-rated insurers and practices.
LEMOINE ended up removing enough obstacles and creating so many new efficient teams and affiliations that the company drove the projected costs of the P&A work down by nearly 20 percent and returned the savings to LDNR. LEMOINE has since been able to perform P&A work for 370 wells.