Abandoned oil and gas wells could be shaping up as “super-emitters” of dangerous greenhouse gases, Princeton University researchers Alana Miller and Mary Kang have found.
“After testing a sample of abandoned oil and natural gas wells in northwestern Pennsylvania, the researchers found that many of the old wells leaked substantial quantities of methane,” Sullivan writes. With about three million abandoned wells across the U.S., “the overall contribution of leaking wells could be significant.”
Methane from active oil and gas wells has received more attention in recent years, and Sullivan says companies “work to minimize emissions.” However, “almost no attention has been paid to wells that were drilled decades ago. These wells, some of which date back to the 19th century, are typically abandoned and not recorded on official records.” (h/t to Environmental News Bits)