Check out our explainer video series! Commission Shift Executive Director, Virginia Palacios, and Megan Milliken Biven, founder of True Transition, introduce us to the problem of orphaned wells, and how the state oil and gas agency can better address and prevent these dangerous sites. All video recommendations come from Megan and Virginia’s January 2022 co-authored report, Eliminating Orphan Wells and Sites in Texas.
Virginia Palacios and Megan Milliken Biven outline the scope of the orphaned well problem, and what the Railroad Commission, the state’s oil and gas agency, has to do with it.
In this episode, Virginia and Megan discuss how state policies are set up to allow operators to orphan wells. Video includes: low operator standards, easy pathways to drilling permits, “fraudulent transfers,” and no oversight in transferring well leases between companies. Virginia and Megan discuss solutions to these problems, and how the state oil and gas agency has the ability to address these problems with existing tools and oversight.
In Part 3, Virginia Palacios and Megan Milliken Biven cover the ways to afford plugging abandoned wells including financial assurance, bonding reform, and trust funds.
Zombie Wells! In part four of five, Virginia and Megan discuss the 150,000 inactive, unplugged wells in Texas.
Video includes: plugging extensions and other “pay to delay” methods, requirements for plugging, and the tragic consequences of unplugged inactive wells.
In the final episode of our five part series, Virginia Palacios and Megan Milliken Biven discuss how best to deal and pay for the existing orphaned wells in Texas.
Video includes: industry fees and how state funds work, as well as unallocated, excess funds that sit in state oil and gas coffers, despite being intended to protect the environment and public safety. While industry profit more than covers the cost to plug the entire orphaned well inventory, the Railroad Commission has not updated fees or surchages to accomplish this.
All video recommendations come from Virginia Palacios’s and Megan Milliken Biven’s January 2022 co-authored report, Eliminating Orphan Wells and Sites in Texas.Read the Full Report