Wednesday, July 7, 2010

AP: Gulf awash in 27,000 abandoned gas, oil wells

"More than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells remain in the Gulf of Mexico and no one's checking to see if they are leaking, reports an investigation by the Associated Press.

The AP, calling the Gulf an "environmental minefield," says the oldest of these wells were abandoned in the late 1940s, raising questions about whether their seals remain intact. It says 3,500 wells are listed as "temporarily abandoned," without seals, with 1,000 of them remaining that way for more than a decade.

The Macondo well beneath BP's Deepwater Horizon rig was being sealed with cement for temporary abandonment when it blew April 20, according to the AP, which says government data indicate BP alone has abandoned about 600 wells in the Gulf. The story adds:

~~~ There's ample reason for worry about all permanently and temporarily abandoned wells – history shows that at least on land, they often leak. Wells are sealed underwater much as they are on land. And wells on land and in water face similar risk of failure. Plus, records reviewed by the AP show that some offshore wells have failed." More>>>>

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