Over the past several years, coal-bed methane gas operators in the Powder River Basin have idled thousands of wells due to low natural gas pricing, and a handful of operators struggle on the verge of bankruptcy.
By Dustin Bleizeffer/wyofile.com
Black Diamond Energy Inc. and Loral Operating, for example, each have failed to put up the full amount of state-mandated “idle well” bonding. Each has also failed to perform required “mechanical integrity testing” to ensure their idle wells do not create environmental or human health hazards.
In all, the fate of some 11,800 idle coal-bed methane wells in the basin remains uncertain, creating a potential liability that could cost millions of dollars to address.
However, industry and state officials say the situation isn’t as grim as it may appear.