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Environment & Energy

Perilous Pathways: The Danger Of Drilling Near Abandoned Wells

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There are an estimated 200,000 aban­doned oil and gas wells in Penn­syl­va­nia but officials only know where the exact boundaries of about four percent of them.  The infor­ma­tion gap is a prob­lem, because aban­doned wells are dangerous, especially when drillers start to sink new wells into the countryside.

Aban­doned wells pro­vide path­ways for methane gas to seep to the sur­face or to other voids, and under the right set­tings it can trig­ger explo­sions. In June, the inter­sec­tion between a Shell frack­ing oper­a­tion and a for­got­ten well drilled in 1932 likely led to a 30-foot geyser of methane and gas.

You can read the entire series at the website of our partner StateImpact Pennsylvania.