Los Angeles City Council Approves ‘Historic’ Oil Drilling Ban

Los Angeles City Council Approves 'Historic' Oil Drilling Ban

 By Hailey Konnath

Law360 (December 2, 2022, 10:16 PM EST) — The Los Angeles City Council on Friday voted to ban all oil drilling in the city, signing off on an ordinance that council members and community advocates praised as “historic,” particularly for a city that owes much of its early development and growth to the oil and gas industry.

The city council voted 12-0 to amend the municipal code to prohibit new oil and gas extraction and make existing extraction “a nonconforming use” in all zones of the city. This means that existing wells have 20 years to wind down, though that time frame could be shortened pending the results of an upcoming city economic analysis, according to the ordinance.

City Council member Marqueece Harris-Dawson said during the meeting that Los Angeles will lead the state, and potentially the world, with this move.

“In Los Angeles, we sit on the largest urban oil deposit in the world,” said Harris-Dawson, wh orepresents portions of south Los Angeles, one of the areas that has historically seen the most drilling.”So if Los Angeles can do it, cities around the world can do it.”

City Council President Paul Krekorian said it was “a big moment.”

“This may be the most important step toward environmental justice that this council has taken in recent memory,” he said. “And there’s more to do. But let’s celebrate this success.”

Krekorian, who represents parts of the San Fernando Valley, another drilling hotspot, noted that LosAngeles City Hall features art celebrating the oil and gas industry. Much of the city’s early economic development and growth was thanks to the industry, he said. But he said the result is hundreds of thousands of Angelenos for generations being forced to live in the “shadows of oil and gas production” and everything that entails, like exposure to toxic chemicals and fumes and noise.

“To most of us, that seems unthinkable,” Krekorian said. “But that was the reality, and still is the reality in much of Los Angeles.”

Environmental justice coalition Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling LA, which has long pushed for an end to drilling, celebrated the ordinance’s passage as a “major community victory.”

“This ordinance will amend decades of racist land use decisions that concentrated oil drilling in Black and Brown communities,” the coalition said in a statement.

It continued, “This win — the result of years of community-organizing, coalition building and multi-racial solidarity — signals that Black, Latinx and other communities of color currently living near polluting oil wells and derricks in South L.A. and [the Wilmington area] will eventually breathe easier.”

The ordinance was opposed by oil and gas industry group the California Independent PetroleumAssociation, which represents about 500 independent crude oil and natural gas producers, royalty owners, and service and supply companies, per its website. In an October letter to the city, the association warned that shutting down wells in the city would just mean more reliance on foreign oil.It also disagreed with the assessment that oil production is dangerous, per the letter.

The industry association didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment late Friday.

According to the city, Los Angeles has more than 5,000 oil and gas wells, though some of those aren’t in operation.

The city ban comes on the heels of similar legislation at the state level. In September, CaliforniaGov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 1137, which required that new and modified oil and gas wells be set back at least 3,200 feet from homes, schools, health care facilities and other sensitive areas, according to the governor’s office.

The oil industry similarly blasted Newsom’s decision to sign that legislation, which was part of a larger climate measures package, saying that it will curtail drilling in the state.

“What will be ‘historic’ about the package of bills signed by the governor today will be the tremendous costs and impacts they will impose on California residents, our economy and our way of life,” Western States Petroleum Association President and CEO Catherine Reheis-Boyd said at the time.

–Additional reporting by Lauren Berg. Editing by Michael Watanabe.

Oil Well Due Diligence Services – Cal State Dominguez Hills Campus

Terra-Petra has been providing Oil Well Due Diligence services for a well-known Southern California contractor at California State University Dominguez Hills Campus in Carson, CA. The site will be developed for Student Housing.

Terra-Petra was able to locate a metallic anomaly having the signature of a steel cased oil well by using a Geometrics G858 cesium magnetometer (G858). The location of the well was staked in anticipation of excavating the area to expose the well head. The Southern California District Office of the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) was notified after the metallic anomaly was identified. Terra-Petra prepared and submitted a Construction Site Well Review Application (CSWR) through email to their office. We also notified with the local CalGEM dispatcher our intent to uncover the well and perform an oil well leak test of the casing.

During the excavation we were able to remove surface mulch, excavating soil, removing debris and noting in use infrastructure. The well was located in the east sidewall of the excavation pit at approximately 8 ft. below surface grade. Care was taken to control dust during the excavation and backfilling.

CalGEM was invited to be onsite during the leak test. However, they elected to participate remotely via Facetime to inspect the casing and to witness the leak testing activities as they were being conducted. The subject steel well casing measured approximately 13.5-inch diameter and was found to have a metal top plate continuously welded within the well casing, approximately 0.25-in. to 0.5-in. below the top of the top of the steel well casing. The metal top plate was inspected and apparently was not labeled with well name and/or date of well abandonment.

Results of the emissions monitoring at the top of the well excavation pit showed Non-Detect for combustible gas (as methane and C1 to C6 petroleum hydrocarbons) and ND for hydrogen sulfide as background levels.

Results of emissions monitoring at the top and sides of the exposed well casing showed detectable
concentrations of combustible gas ranging from zero to 2 ppmv with non-detectable concentrations of
hydrogen sulfide (less than 0.1 ppmv). Results of the bubble leak-testing activity showed no bubbles and therefore no indication of pressured gas leakage from the top of the well casing.

Prior to backfilling the excavation, as we always do, Terra-Petra surveyed the casing by obtaining ground specific field locations and elevations within the defined mapping limits. Said areas included centerline monuments to establish parcel Right of Way, Location of Oil Well in question, NAD 83 latitudes and longtitudes to an accuracy of 6 decimal places as well as the elevation of top of well in NAVD 88.

Terra-Petra directed the backfilling of the well excavation pit by using the backhoe to push stockpiled soil back into the pit, and a sheep’s foot wheel to compact the soil to restore surface grade elevation contours. A trailer-mounted 400-gallon water buffalo with pump and hose were used to manage dust control during soil excavation and backfilling activities

All work performed so far has been completed in compliance with the California Public Resources Code (PRC) Article 4: Regulation of Operations: Code Sections 3200-3258.


Terra-Petra has become an expert in physically locating buried oil wells. Our methods have proven to be effective many times over. If you are in need of oil well locating services, please contact us.

Oil Well Consulting & Investigation – Torrance, CA

Oil Well Consulting & Investigation - Torrance, CA

Terra-Petra Environmental Engineering was retained for our expertise in locating oil wells by a well-known Southern California developer.   Upon investigation on the CalGEM well finder site a single oil well was shown as being within the property boundaries.

Terra-Petra has experienced a consistent inaccuracy with CalGEM’s online mapping system. Considering this, we typically use this website for general information and rely on our tried-and-true methods for physically locating the wells. Part of our process utilizes geophysical locating equipment in an attempt to identify any metallic anomalies having an oil well signature.

For this project, we were able to identify a fully imaged anomaly typical of a steel cased oil well. After mobilizing our excavation equipment, we were able to uncover the anomaly and verify that it was a steel cased well having a 17” diameter steel casing. The well number was found welded on the cover confirming our discovery. Our survey crew was brought out to identify the well’s location based on NAD 83 latitudes and longitudes to an accuracy of 6 decimal places per CalGEM’s requirements.

We are still in the process of verifying the exact location of the well relative to the online mapping systems. At this time, we can say that the actual location varies from what is shown online. The degree to which it varies will be verified soon. 

Learn more about Terra-Petra’s Oil Well Services

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Oil Well Leak Test – Los Angeles

Oil Well Leak Test Services - Los Angeles, CA

Terra-Petra is undertaking, on behalf of a Los Angeles developer, the task to locate, uncover and leak test a single oil well in Los Angeles, CA.  The proposed site will consist of a two-story, raised foundation, single family dwelling. The California Department of Conservation, Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) requested this work to be performed as necessary oil well due diligence.

The tasks performed may encompass a geophysical survey, a well head excavation, a well head survey, and a well head leak test and summary report. All work will be completed in compliance with the California Public Resources Code (PRC) Article 4: Regulation of Operations: Code Sections 3200-3258.

Terra-Petra Oil Field Services

Terra-Petra’s oil field services offer our clients a one-stop shop for all their oil field needs.  Our team will manage your project from start to finish, encompassing everything from initial consultation to the final report and submission of NFA (No Further Action) letter.

With the seemingly endless moving parts involved in successful oil field construction site plan reviewoil well abandonment / re-abandonmentvent cone installationconsulting and more, it’s important to have an expert by your side every step of the way to manage the process and make sure your budget and schedule stay on track.  With Terra-Petra’s hands-on expertise in ALL aspects of oil field management and consulting we stand out amongst other firms in the industry.

Grand jury says Santa Barbara County fails to properly monitor idle oil wells; supervisors disagree

By Mike Hodgson

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to approve a response to a grand jury investigation into 1,374 idle oil wells in the county that disagrees with the findings and rejects the resulting recommendations when it meets Tuesday in Santa Maria.

The response is part of the board’s administrative agenda, which consists of items generally approved in a single vote unless a supervisor pulls one for discussion or for a separate vote or a member of the public asks to comment on one.

Grand jurors made four findings and four recommendations to the board in their report released Dec. 20.

In their proposed response, supervisors wholly disagree with all four findings and say none of the four recommendations will be implemented.

In general, the grand jury found the health and environmental risks from idle wells are not being adequately addressed; the county is too understaffed to adequately monitor idle wells; code provisions requiring drilling equipment and derricks to be removed are not fully enforced; and the county may face financial liabilities from inadequate monitoring.

The “idle wells” referred to in the report are 926 “long-term idle wells,” those inactive for at least eight years, and 448 “inactive wells,” those out of production more than two but less than eight years, identified by the California Geologic Energy Management Division in 2019.

At that time, the county also had 4,215 “abandoned wells,” which had been out of production for two years or more but whose owners or operators applied for permits and followed procedures for taking them out of service.

Those procedures included plugging the wells with cement to prevent hydrocarbons from leaking into groundwater or soil or onto the surface.

Only one well in the county in 2019 was classified an “orphaned well,” where the owner had declared bankruptcy, become insolvent or simply deserted it without taking steps to properly seal it.

The rest of the 1,028 wells in the county at that time were considered “active wells.”

Grand jury’s findings

The grand jury noted oil seeping from both active and idle wells can contaminate the soil and groundwater, and leaking methane gas can cause air pollution.

But the report said because idle wells are usually unattended, the seepage and leaks can become extensive before they are discovered, thus posing a greater risk to the public and environment.

“An example of the effects of seepage can be seen in the Santa Maria Valley, where there were thousands of active oil wells in the past,” the report says. “Some homes in Santa Maria had to be demolished because the area’s soil had been contaminated by seepage from old wells that had not been properly abandoned and plugged.

“There appears to have been no county remedial action on a number of the old wells around Orcutt, and no action by the owner to abandon them,” the report continues. “Abandonment under the required legal procedures would have led to capping. In the absence of capping, the health and safety of the area are not secure.”

The grand jury recommended supervisors direct the Planning and Development Department to identify health and environmental risks and determine actual and potential fiscal labilities from idle wells in annual reports to the board.

It also recommended supervisors direct Planning and Development to maintain enough trained personnel to staff the Petroleum Unit of its Energy, Minerals and Compliance Division and to enforce County Code requirements for removing equipment and derricks from idle wells.

Supervisors’ response

The board’s proposed response says annual Planning and Development, County Fire Department and County Air Pollution Control District inspections of active and idle wells provide sufficient regulatory oversight to minimize risks to public health and the environment.

However, the response says in order to provide annual well inspection data to the public, within one year Planning and Development will launch a public-facing web portal that lists inspection dates and results for each well that’s inspected.

In the proposed response, the board also says it won’t require a report on fiscal liabilities because those are the responsibility of the state and the well operator.

Biden administration to give states $1.15 billion to plug orphaned wells, which leak planet-warming methane

Image Above:  Curtis Shuck, founder of Well Done Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Bozeman, Mont., that caps abandoned oil and gas wells, observes measurements of leaking methane gas from a capped oil well in June near Shelby, Mont. (Adrián Sánchez-Gonzalez for The Washington Post)

Re-post of original article from The Washington Post


By Tik Root

The White House on Monday announced new steps to help curb emissions of methane, saying it will send $1.15 billion to states to clean up thousands of orphaned oil and gas wells that leak the powerful planet-warming gas.

The Biden administration also outlined plans to enforce requirements for pipeline operators to minimize methane leaks, undertake research to reduce methane emissions from beef and dairy systems, and form an interagency working group to measure and report greenhouse gases around the nation.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement that the new funding “is enabling us to confront the legacy pollution and long-standing environmental injustices” that have long plagued vulnerable communities. “This is good for our climate, for the health of our communities, and for American workers,” Haaland said.

Tens of thousands of abandoned wells dot the country in places where the oil and gas companies or individual owners went out of business, or are otherwise no longer responsible for their cleanup.

The Interior Department reported earlier this month that there are 130,000 documented abandoned wells across the country. And an analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund and McGill University found that about 9 million people in the United States live within a mile of an orphaned well. As recently as 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that the number of wells could actually be as high as 2 million to 3 million.

“Some might be relatively harmless, and some might be quite dangerous,” said Mary Kang, a researcher at McGill University in Canada who has long studied the problem. The wells can emit a range of gases, she said, including methane, which is the primary component of natural gas. In its first 20 years in the atmosphere, methane has more than 80 times the warming potential than that of carbon dioxide.

“It’s a pretty big problem that’s flown under the radar for a long time,” said Adam Peltz, a senior attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund who also worked on the analysis. He called the White House’s move “a down payment on this problem.”

The $1.15 billion announced Monday is the first tranche of allotments from the $4.7 billion that Congress approved for orphaned well cleanup as part of the fall’s bipartisan infrastructure package. That package also included more than $11 billion in funding for abandoned mine reclamation and $1 billion for modernizing natural gas pipelines, among other measures.

The funds will go to the 26 states that submitted notices of intent to the Interior Department late last year. The allocations range from about $25 million for Alabama, up to $107 million for Texas. More will be spent in the coming months and years as part of grants to states.


Read the complete article on The Washington Post

Los Angeles Moves To End Oil Drilling In The City

Re-post from latimes.com

(Image by Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday took steps intended to phase out oil drilling and gas extraction in the city, moving to address the legacy of environmental and health problems caused by an industry that helped create modern Southern California.

The council voted unanimously to support a ban on new oil wells and ordered a study intended to help city officials determine how to phase out existing wells in the next two decades.

Environmental justice activists heralded the vote as long-fought win for the low-income communities of color near the wells and a turning point in city regulations that allow for the extraction of oil and gas in residential neighborhoods.

“No community should be a sacrifice zone,” said Martha Dina Arguello, executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility-L.A. and co-chair of a coalition of community groups fighting to shut down wells.

Oil wells are known to emit likely carcinogens including benzene and formaldehyde, and living near wells is linked to health problems including respiratory issues and preterm births, studies have found.

Yet storage tanks and oil rigs are hidden behind walls and nestled near homes, schools and youth clubs. Along with health risks, the active sites can bring around-the-clock noise for residents.

Petroleum was once one of Southern California’s biggest industries, with derricks and wells dotting coastal areas from Huntington Beach to Santa Barbara, extending to inland communities including Brea and Echo Park. The industry helped fuel L.A.’s growth in the early 20th century and later provided jobs for veterans after World War II, and also created some of L.A.’s great fortunes and scandals in the prewar years.

The region’s output is not what it once was, but there are still more than 1,000 active or idle wells in L.A., city officials say.

“Oil drilling in Los Angeles might have made sense in the early part of the 20th century, but it sure doesn’t make a lot of sense now that we’ve become a megalopolis at the beginning of the 21st century,” Councilman Paul Krekorian, who represents San Fernando Valley neighborhoods, said at Wednesday’s council meeting.

The motion approved Wednesday directs city attorneys to draft an ordinance that prohibits new oil and gas extraction. The city will also conduct an amortization study to understand whether oil companies have recouped the value of their investments at each oil site.

If companies have recouped those costs, L.A. officials say it will make it easier for the city to shut down the sites.

Rock Zierman, chief executive of the California Independent Petroleum Assn., said in a statement that “shutting down domestic energy production not only puts Californians out of work and reduces taxes that pay for vital services, but it makes us more dependent on imported foreign oil from Saudi Arabia and Iraq that is tankered into L.A.’s crowded port.”

Crude that is produced in California complies with state environmental laws, while imports are exempt, Zierman added.

“Further, taking someone’s property without compensation … violates the U.S. Constitution’s 5th Amendment against illegal search and seizure,” Zierman said.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors last year took similar steps to phase out oil production in unincorporated areas. The state is moving toward banning new oil and gas wells within 3,200 feet of homes, schools and healthcare facilities, and requiring emissions monitoring of existing wells within those buffer zones.

More than half of the city of L.A.’s active oil wells are in Wilmington, according to Communities for a Better Environment, an environmental health and justice group. The group became involved in the neighborhood in 2007 after residents complained about a massive oil drilling operation run by Warren E&P Inc.

The operation is near homes and a youth baseball field, said Bahram Fazeli, director of research and policy at Communities for a Better Environment.

“It was terrible — people said it was a living hell,” Fazeli said, describing residents’ complaints of asthma attacks and nosebleeds. “It’s still a big hazard to the community.”

A drilling site run by Allenco Energy in University Park brought reports of foul odors, headaches and persistent nosebleeds. The site was ordered in 2020 to shut down permanently after years of legal and political wrangling.

The city has faced persistent criticism from activists for its lack of oversight of the petroleum industry. A 2020 investigation by The Times and the Center for Public Integrity found that the city of Los Angeles has been slow and inconsistent in forcing the petroleum industry to take responsibility for wells that sit idle and unplugged.

Abandoned oil well counts are exploding — now that there’s money on the table

Abandoned oil well counts are exploding — now that there’s money on the table

By Naveena Sadasivam / Grist.org

$4.7 billion released by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has states rethinking their abandoned oil well tallies.

It’s long been an open secret that abandoned oil and gas wells are dramatically undercounted in the United States. Now that the federal government is finally offering substantial funding to plug and clean up these environmental hazards, states are finally starting to admit it.

From 2020 to 2021, the number of wells that the state of Oklahoma listed as abandoned — and therefore the government’s responsibility to clean up — jumped from 2,799 to a whopping 17,865. In Colorado, the orphan well tally hovered around 275 from 2018 to 2020 but increased by almost 80 percent last year. In California, the tally almost doubled in the last two years. (It started even lower in 2019, when the state identified just 25 abandoned wells.)

What changed? In 2020, Congress began seriously considering sending states money to plug orphan wells. The proposal had support from both political parties and was ultimately included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law enacted in November, which set aside $4.7 billion for this purpose. States have long known that their orphan well tallies are outdated and incomplete, but without a source of funding to clean up the wells, many didn’t invest the resources required to identify abandoned wells. That changed as the funding slowly became a reality over the past couple of years.

Grist / Clayton Aldern / Naveena Sadasivam

The Department of the Interior, which is tasked with distributing the $4.7 billion now allocated for orphan well cleanup, is expected to begin distributing funds this summer. A Grist review of forms submitted to the Interior Department in which states indicated their interest in obtaining federal funding, as well as orphan well tallies reported to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, found that official orphan well counts have increased by about 40 percent nationwide in the last year and doubled compared to 2019. That increase was confirmed by the Interior Department earlier this month, when it announced that 26 states had expressed interest in federal funding and had reported more than 130,000 orphaned wells.

“It used to be a larger well count was a sign of significant regulatory failure,” said Robert Schuwerk, executive director of Carbon Tracker’s North America office. “That is still true. However, now there’s an opportunity to get money to plug those wells, so there’s an incentive to get higher numbers to be able to garner more of those federal dollars.”

Plugging Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells Provides Climate and Jobs Benefits

Plugging Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells Provides Climate and Jobs Benefits

For over a century, fossil fuel companies have drilled oil and gas wells in the United States to increase the production, consumption, and export of fossil fuels. These wells are often abandoned once they are no longer profitable, and are sometimes left unplugged or improperly plugged, causing local environmental hazards and contributing to global climate change. The bipartisan infrastructure package, H.R. 3684, includes $4.7 billion to remediate orphaned wells, an initiative that will create new jobs while simultaneously curbing emissions.

In general, abandoned wells are unproductive wells with an identifiable owner, whereas orphaned wells are unproductive wells without an identifiable owner. Across the United States, there are at least 3.3 million abandoned oil and gas wells, about 60 percent of which are unplugged. There are also 56,600 documented orphaned wells in need of remediation, most of which are state and private lands, but thousands of undocumented wells also likely exist.

Unplugged wells leak methane, a potent greenhouse gas 25 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere, and other pollutants that contribute to the climate crisis, harm public health, and contaminate water. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that abandoned wells emitted 290 kilotons of methane in 2018, equal to burning over 16 million barrels of oil. Methane poses such a significant threat to the climate that the recently released Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change calls for “strong, rapid and sustained reductions” in methane to avert the most significant impacts of climate change.

In many cases, the burden of plugging orphaned wells falls on states. According to Resources for the Future (RFF), “while states and the federal government fund well plugging activities through bonding requirements, industry fees, and other sources, these funds have not historically been adequate to reduce the inventory of orphan unplugged wells.” Current bonding rates on federal lands have not been updated in over 50 years, resulting in inadequate funds to ensure wells are properly remediated. Some unproductive wells have been unplugged for decades due to a lack of funds. With no private party to take responsibility for these wells, taxpayers are on the hook for their cleanup.

In addition to reducing methane emissions, plugging abandoned wells also could produce thousands of jobs. An RFF report estimates that plugging 500,000 wells could create as many as 120,000 job-years (a job-year is one year of work for one person). The number of orphaned wells is tied to cyclical changes in oil and gas prices, and are predicted to increase if oil and gas prices decrease. The report suggests that the federal government should focus on older wells that were abandoned before modern regulations to disincentivize oil and gas companies from abandoning wells in the future.

Employment gains from plugging wells could help offset job losses from the oil and gas industry, which lost an estimated 76,000 jobs from February to June of 2020. Additionally, the skills required to plug wells—a process that often involves sealing wells with cement and remediating land—are similar to those required in the oil and gas industry, which could help facilitate the job transition.

Congress recently passed bipartisan legislation focused on plugging orphaned wells. The Revive Economic Growth and Reclaim Orphaned Wells (REGROW) Act of 2021 (S.1076/H.R.3585), which was integrated into the bipartisan infrastructure bill, will provide $4.275 billion for orphaned well cleanup on state and private lands, $400 million for cleanup on private and tribal lands, and $32 million for research. According to a press release, the legislation aims to plug every documented orphan well in the country.

Terra-Petra Abandoned Oil Well Services

Starting in the 3rd quarter of 2021 Terra-Petra saw a significant uptick in oil well abandonment projects that we are being asked to bid on. There are multiple steps involved with abandoning an oil well (orphaned or not). Initially we engage the California Department of Conservation, Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) to start the Construction Site Well Review (CSWR) application process.

The CSWR is used to assist local permitting agencies in identifying and reviewing the status of wells that are located near or beneath structures. Simultaneously Terra-Petra’s Petroleum Engineering team starts the well abandonment permit process by reviewing the historic well files and preparing the permit package for submittal to CalGEM for review and approval. This process can take anywhere from 3 to 5 months. Once we have permits in hand, we can move into the physical abandonment process. Terra-Petra may spend between 2-5 weeks abandoning a single oil well with one of many abandonment rigs.

Later this year (2nd quarter 2022) we are looking to abandon wells in Redondo Beach and multiple sites in Torrance (pending permit issuance). We are currently consulting on oil well related matters for more than two dozen developments having an oil well on the property.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR OIL WELL ABANDONMENT SERVICES

Mysterious Methane Plumes Spotted Above Texas Oil and Gas Fields

Mysterious Methane Plumes Spotted Above Texas Oil and Gas Fields

By Josh Saul

(Bloomberg) — A satellite spotted two plumes of planet-warming methane rising from a patch of East Texas that’s home to multiple oil and gas operations.

State regulators said they couldn’t identify the source of the methane, which is the primary component of natural gas and traps 80 times as much heat than carbon dioxide in its first two decades in the atmosphere. Stemming methane leaks and stopping unnecessary releases is one of the most powerful steps that can be taken to slow global warming.

The two plumes were detected by geoanalytics company Kayrros SAS using a Nov. 29 satellite observation from the European Space Agency. Kayrros estimated that the plumes originated from different sources east of Dallas, about 15 miles apart, in an area dotted with fossil fuel infrastructure.

The plumes had estimated release rates of 21 tons per hour and 24 tons per hour. It’s not possible to determine the duration of leaks because satellites only capture one moment in time. If they lasted an hour, the two clouds combined would equal the average annual emissions from about 800 cars running in the U.S.

Some methane plumes found by satellites can be tracked to specific sources, especially if a company reveals that it released gas at that location at that time. But without anyone stepping forward, the source of such plumes — where multiple companies are operating in a small area — can remain a mystery. On-the-ground monitoring is also sometimes used to link releases to specific producers.

Companies operating pipelines nearby include Boardwalk Pipelines LP, Enbridge Inc. and Atmos Energy Corp. Boardwalk said it didn’t have any leaks or releases that could have caused the clouds. An Enbridge representative said the company isn’t aware of any such release. Atmos didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

Texas regulators also weren’t able to identify the source of the methane plumes. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality wasn’t aware of the plumes, a representative said. A spokesperson for the Railroad Commission of Texas, the primary state regulator of the oil and natural gas industry, referred questions to the TCEQ.

Terra-Petra’s oil field services offer our clients a one-stop shop for all their oil field needs.  Our team will manage your project from start to finish, encompassing everything from initial consultation to the final report and submission of NFA (No Further Action) letter.

With the seemingly endless moving parts involved in successful oil field construction site plan reviewoil well abandonment / re-abandonmentvent cone installationconsulting and more, it’s important to have an expert by your side every step of the way to manage the process and make sure your budget and schedule stay on track.  With Terra-Petra’s hands-on expertise in ALL aspects of oil field management and consulting we stand out amongst other firms in the industry.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR OIL FIELD SERVICES

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