50,000 Oil Wells Drilled in Gulf since 1940’s
AP Impact: Gulf Awash in 27,000 Abandoned Wells
Of the 50,000 oil wells drilled in the Gulf, 23,500 have been “permanently abandoned” and another 3,500 oil wells are categorized as “temporarily abandoned,” according to an AP report.
3,500 “Temporarily Abandoned” Oil Wells Classified as “Temporary” for decades!
Did you know that when the BP disaster happened on April 20, 2010 killing 11 workers, it was because BP was turning its Deepwater Horizon Macondo well into a “Temporarily Abandoned” shut-in (SI) well!
Committee members wrote in a letter Thursday to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that they were responding to an Associated Press investigation released last week on the 27,000 abandoned wells in the Gulf. The AP reported that the wells are not routinely inspected when plugged or subsequently monitored for leaks.
Jeff Donn’s article further states that:
Some wells have been abandoned in the Gulf since drilling first began in federal waters in the 1940s. Oil companies leave them behind when they are done using them to explore or produce.
Jeff Donn relayed that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) looked at the potential for leaks in these offshore abandoned wells in 1994. They found these wells could damage the aquatic environment.
A major concern about the safety of the wells is that cement used to plug the wells could erode. The well plugs if not cemented properly, could crack.
Who is Checking these Wells to Make Sure they Are Safe and Secure?
The oil companies have had a cozy relationship with the U.S. Government because next to nothing has been done to insure the temporarily abandoned (TA) wells or the permanently abandoned (PA) wells are safe.
Federal Regulations require that these wells be reviewed at least once per year. The document entitled, “Risk Assessment of Temporarily Abandoned or Shut-in Wells” prepared for the Department of Interior, Minerals Management Service (MMS) on October 2000 by C-FER Technologies Inc. stated on page 1:
The MMS provides regulations for placing a well in temporary abandoned (TA) or shut-in (SI) status. In addition to meeting the mechanical requirements (for plugging and stub clearance) the operator must:
“…provide, within one year of the original temporarary abandonment and at successive one-year intervals thereafter, an annual report describing plans for reentry to complete or permanently abandon the well.” (30 CFR Ch. II, 250.703)
The above report claims true risk of the abandoned wells cannot be fully determined without more data. The authors of the report recommend creation of a database that includes more updated information on each well.
The Minerals Management Service responsible for oversight of the oil wells was literally in bed with oil company executives! This office has since been re-organized and renamed.
The U.S. governmental organization now responsible for monitoring and regulating offshore oil wells is the newly named:
Shamarr Allen and friends create musical response to BP oil spill disaster:
Sorry Aint Enough No More (bp oil spill song)- Shamarr Allen, Dee-1, Paul Sanchez, & Bennie of Hot 8
Musician’s Oil Spill Anguish and Music
“Sorry is not enough…Actions speak louder than words in any situation.”