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Abandoned oil wells are scattered across the US
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US industry and government must work together on abandoned wells

Dealing with end-of-life oil and gas wells has costs and challenges. But a joined-up approach should also offer benefits

Millions of abandoned oil and gas wells are scattered across the US, leaking greenhouse gases (GHGs) and contaminating the local environment. A combination of tightening rules on oil companies to ensure the safe retirement of these wells and a government-funded programme to address older, undocumented wells provides a path forward. And it is one that has the potential to create employment opportunities while improving public health. Widespread problem The term abandoned wells generally refers to wells that have not recently been used for production of oil or natural gas. A well that is both abandoned and unplugged is not in use but also has not been properly sealed, or ‘plugged’, to preven



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