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Orphan, Abandoned, Idle, and Marginal Wells: Opportunities with Plugging, Repurposing, Carbon Credits, and More

Sponsored by: AAPG/Pittsburg Petroleum Geology Societies

Tuesday, 27 February Wednesday, 28 February 2024, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.  |  Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania

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Learn about the new opportunities and best practices for plugging orphan, idle, and abandoned wells, and to comply with new requirements for funding, methane emissions measurement and monitoring, groundwater protection, and more. The sessions will cover new databases, funding sources and tax incentives as well as best practices for finding and cleaning up orphaned and abandoned wells, for individual wells and the entire field. This workshop will bring together industry practitioners, government and state agencies, nonprofit and academic institutions in an event that emphasizes the "how" as well as the "what, where, and when" to spark new ideas, motivate interdisciplinary and multi institutional collaboration and support the establishment of best practices for cleaning up and repurposing wells across the nation.

Funding Sources

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law directed the Secretary of the Interior to establish programs to inventory and properly close orphaned wells. The Law provides $4.7 billion for orphaned well site plugging, remediation and restoration activities on federal, Tribal, state and private lands. This historic investment will reduce methane and other greenhouse gas emissions from orphaned wells, help clean up water contamination, restore native habitat, create good-paying union jobs and benefit disproportionately impacted communities.

Session 1: The History of These Old Wells
Understanding regulation history, lack of regulation, industry standards and practices, historic materials, and historical records
Regulation (State, Federal, Local, Etc.)
Access Orphan Wells - Where Are We Now?
An Update and Overview of Risks. Wells in or adjacent to rivers, homes, schools and other sensitive areas
Well Characterization. So You Even Know What You Have
Risks, area history, presence of gases, and information to help determine options for plugging
Session 2: Orphan Well Data Sources and Funding
Types of Wells. Orphan, Idle/non-Economic, Marginal, Economic and Mineral Capturing
The difference between them and the impacts regarding owner compensation and/or penalty.
DOE and USGS Data
Local and State Data Sources
Session 3: Well Integrity - Testing and Assessing
Data Needed Before You Start
Why Test and Assess Before You Plug?
Borehole Integrity / Cement / Potential Downhole Junk or Equipment
Session 4: Cementing and Plugging Techniques
Historical Cementing and Plugging
Current Practices
Best Practices
EPA Funded Emissions Reduction Program
Leading the development of a Best Practices guide for plugging and mitigating emissions from marginal wells
New Materials / New Approaches
Session 5: The Business of Plugging Orphan, Idle, and Abandoned Wells
What Does It Mean to Be a Project Developer, Operator, Project Manager, Validator, and Registry. What’s the Process?
How Do You Sell Credits?
What are the options, and how much are they worth?
How Do We Promote Incentives?
How to get wells plugged without it turning into a challenge
Session 6: Measurements and Detection
Methane, infrastructure, reservoir fluids, groundwater and surface water
What Are You Measuring?
Stages of Detection and Measurement
Matching the Measurement Technique to Need
Federal funding quantification vs a specific carbon registry’s requirements. Documentation for each plugged well
Compliance and Upcoming New Regulations
Session 7: Carbon Registries, Carbon Credits, Buying and Selling Carbon Credits
Defining and Describing Carbon Credits, Carbon Registries, Carbon Markets
The Life of the Carbon Credit: From Measurement to Minting. The Process
Matching the Registry With the Well
State Plugging Programs and How CCs Fall Into That
Recent Regs in OK, TX, CA, etc.
Session 8: Marginal Wells: Project Management. Carbon Credits for Plugging Marginal Wells
Easements on the Mineral Estate and What That Means
Declarations of Restrictive Covenants
Mineral Owners and/or Royalty Owners
Mineral Owner and Surface Owner Considerations
Orphan, Abandoned, Idle, and Marginal Wells: Opportunities with Plugging, Repurposing, Carbon Credits, and More
RLA Learning Center
850 Cranberry Woods Dr
Cranberry TownshipPennsylvania 16066
United States
+1 724 741 1000
Expires on
13 November, 3023
AAPG Members Day of Workshop
Expires on
13 November, 3023
AAPG Members Pre-Registration
Expires on
13 November, 3023
Non-Members Day of Workshop
Expires on
13 November, 3023
Non-Members Pre-Registration
Expires on
13 November, 3023
Student Non-Members
Expires on
13 November, 3023
Student Members
Education Credits:
CEU: 2.0
PDH: 20
Fees Include:
Workshop materials
Continental Breakfast (both days)
Buffet Lunch (both days)
End-of-Day Reception Tuesday
Special Instructions

Please bring laptop or mobile device. An email will be sent prior to event asking you to download presentations in advance.


No refunds will be issued after February 14.

Participants who are unable to attend the event may designate a substitute to attend in their place. Cancellations, substitution requests and registration questions should be sent to Customer Service at [email protected]

Susan Nash, Ph.D. Director, Innovation and Emerging Science and Technology
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The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) does not endorse or recommend any products and services that may be cited, used or discussed in AAPG publications or in presentations at events associated with AAPG.