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ABB supports Well Done Foundation to tackle orphan oil and gas wells

Published by , Deputy Editor
Oilfield Technology,

ABB will provide financial support to the Well Done Foundation, a non-profit organisation that tackles the massive environmental problem of millions of leaking orphan oil and gas wells across the United States. The three-year financial partnership will support the organisation in carrying out their critical work of detecting, plugging and monitoring leaking wells.

The Well Done Foundation works to cap orphan oil and gas wells that have been deactivated and no longer have legal owners responsible for their care. Due to their age and deteriorated condition, the wells can leak methane and other harmful greenhouse gases. ABB’s emissions monitoring technology is central to the work carried out by the foundation as both parties align to help tackle harmful emissions.

“ABB’s partnership brings immense value to our campaign to fight climate change through the plugging of orphaned oil and gas wells,” said Curtis Shuck, Chairman of the Board of the Well Done Foundation. “The financial support is obviously most welcome, and it is ABB’s technology and expertise in emissions monitoring that are helping us to fight climate change one well at a time.”

“We are in the position to help fix this pressing environmental problem both financially and through our technology,” said Jacques Mulbert, Division President, ABB Measurement & Analytics. “ABB is focused on accelerating the pace of environmental programs that reduce emissions, and this initiative is a great example.”

ABB’s gas leak detection system is used to find the orphan wells. Depending on their location, the high sensitivity analysers using OA-ICOS™ technology are transported by vehicle (using ABB Ability™ MobileGuard™), drone (HoverGuard™), or backpack (MicroGuard™) to the site. The flow from the thermal mass is logged and visualised on ABB’s gas flow computers, the control devices known in the industry for their extreme accuracy and reliability. In the post-plugging phase, any possible residual methane emissions continue to be monitored.

A key advantage of ABB’s emissions monitoring technology is that it is fully audited by the Bureau of Land Management, which manages the Federal government’s onshore oil and gas program in the United States.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that methane emissions from over 2 million inactive, unplugged wells, of which orphan wells are a subset, range from a CO2 equivalent of 7 to 20 million tpy (approximately the emissions of 2 to 5 million cars).

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