SurfaceMethane
An illustration of stray gas migrating into groundwater and the atmosphere, far away from a leaky wellbore. Source: Alberta Energy Regulator.

Abandoned oil wells spouting significant levels of methane: study

A Princeton University study has found that leaks from abandoned oil and gas wellbores pose not only a risk to groundwater, but represent a growing threat to the climate.

Between 200,000 and 970,000 abandoned wells in the state of Pennsylvania likely account for four to seven per cent of estimated man-made methane emissions in that jurisdiction, a source previously not accounted for, the study says.

Pennsylvania, much like Alberta in Canada, is the oldest oil and gas producer in the United States and the scene of intense environmental controversy due to the impact of hydraulic fracturing on its well-punctured landscape.

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On Sept 19, 2023 ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit in New York City, climate activists gathered for a rally and civil disobedience outside Bank of America Tower in Midtown Manhattan as part of the March to End Fossil Fuels wave of actions resulting in multiple arrests. Activists demand Bank of America to “Defund Climate Chaos and Defend Human Rights” Photo: Erik McGregor (CC BY-NC 2.0 Deed)

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Illustration by Stephanie McMillan. Used with permission