Energy Workforce Creates Orphan Wells Best Practices Document


Energy Workforce’s Orphan Wells Working Group has completed the Energy Workforce Orphan Wells Best Practices document regarding safe plugging practices and procedures of orphaned and abandoned wells. The document draws from the experience from Members to:

  • provide proper guidance for overall job safety
  • help support and educate the state-based entities for plugging orphaned and abandoned wells
  • provide resources and guiding documents for well servicing operators
  • offer insight from a quality control/quality assurance perspective

In addition to the best practices document, the working group also created a comprehensive document that details contact and funding point-of-contact information from all of the state-sponsored orphaned well plugging programs.

The Orphan Wells Working Group was initially formed in response to Congressional legislation passed in November 2021 that provides funding and support to state-sponsored orphaned wells plugging programs, starting in the summer of 2022. The Revive Economic Growth and Reclaim Orphaned Wells (REGROW) Act of 2021, which was integrated into the bipartisan infrastructure bill, will provide $4.275 billion for orphaned well cleanup on state and private lands, $400 million for cleanup on private and tribal lands, and $32 million for research.

The Council Orphan Wells working group, led by the Well Servicing Committee, will host a webinar on April 28 to provide an overview of the recommended practices on plugging orphaned wells for the sector and host an open discussion from member and non-member companies. The webinar will be an open discussion with guest speakers on the following topics:

  • Current orphaned well state programs and best points of contact
  • Available resources and guidelines for orphaned well operators
  • Discussion on how to navigate the state-by-state bidding process
  • Industry best practices and how to navigate the job safely

If you are interested in joining the Council’s Orphan Wells Working Group, contact Director Environmental and Technical Phil DeBauche


Phillip DeBauche, Director, Environmental and Technical, writes about the Council’s environmental and HSE efforts. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.


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