Oil Well Reclamation Service
Oil and gas well reclamation services are necessary for operators of inactive and abandoned wells to clean up the sites and restore them to their original condition. Abandoned oil and gas wells can contain toxic materials and pollute the environment. In some cases, contaminated water can damage the surrounding community. The oil and gas industry in Alberta requires a new approach to reclaiming sites.
Before a well can be abandoned, it must be tested for contamination and cleaned up. If the soil is found to be contaminated, the operator must replace the topsoil. Soil and groundwater monitoring is also needed. Depending on the state, the reclamation process can take months or years. It is often a challenge to properly clean up an inactive well site.
Operators must follow the guidelines set out by the Alberta Energy Regulator. These guidelines include an area-based closure program and practical guidance for struggling operators. This program is designed to ensure minimal environmental impact and help operators avoid a financial burden from inactive sites.
A reclamation plan should be included in the company’s project application. Ideally, the plan will include reseeding the land with native vegetation. It is also important to address other procedures needed to return the land to productive use.
The final phase of the reclamation process is when the well is no longer producing hydrocarbons. At this point, a reclamation certificate is issued by the provincial government. This certification ensures that the site has been reclaimed to the regulatory standards.
During the reclaiming process, the operator must contact the surface owner to notify them of the proposed reclamation plan. If the well owner is not satisfied with the reclamation, they can file a Statement of Concern. They have one year to appeal the decision.
Depending on the state, there is a bond requirement. Bonds cover the costs associated with reclaiming an inactive well. However, bond requirements are often too high for most companies.
Reclamation can be costly, and many states have not updated their bonding requirements in over 50 years. State taxpayers foot the bill, which means the bonding amounts are usually short of the full cost of reclaiming an inactive well.
While the federal government has not changed its bonding requirements in over 50 years, the state governments have been more proactive in updating their bonding requirements. These changes have a positive impact on the oil and gas industry. By working together, operators can minimize the risks of inactive wells and close them before they become orphaned.
Oil and gas well reclamation services can include soil testing and environmental assessment. These processes involve collecting samples, analyzing the physical properties of the soil, and determining its level of contamination. There are certain criteria for soil and groundwater contamination, and the well operator must address these issues to restore the land to its productive potential.
A reclamation plan should contain plans for reclaiming access roads and associated facilities. Operators must also notify local stakeholders, such as government regulators, of their plans to reclaim the well site.