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Orphan Well Location Survey

Using the Orphan Well Location Survey (OWLS), we aim to locate abandoned and orphaned oil and natural gas wells near across the United States that may not be registered in the state databases. Many of these orphaned wells were drilled prior to state regulations of oil & gas drilling, and have not been properly plugged. We will work with activists who provide the locations of wells they encounter, and we then use laser-based detection equipment to determine if the wells are actively leaking methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Project URL:

Geographic Scope: We are specifically targeting two locations- northeastern Oklahoma and western Pennsylvania. However, we are interested in data from any part of the continental United States.

Project Status: Active - recruiting volunteers

Participation Tasks: Data entry, Geolocation, Observation, Photography, Site selection and/or description,

Start Date: 6/1/2019

Project Contact:

Federal Government Sponsor:

DOE logo

Other Federal Government Sponsor:

Fields of Science: Climate and weather, Ecology and environment, Geography, Geology and earth science, Nature and outdoors

Intended Outcomes: Our project will collect locations of orphaned wells, compare those locations to state databases, and inform proper authorities of the locations of the wells while also assessing environmental hazards such as methane emissions.