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Oil and Gas Orphaned Well Program

Oil and Gas

Orphaned Well Program

ADEQ is working in partnership with the Arizona Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AZOGCC) to plug, abandon and reclaim orphaned oil and gas wells  and well sites on State and private land across the state. This work is being funded by a $25 million competitive grant awarded to ADEQ on behalf of AZOGCC by the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law | Learn More >

ADEQ’s Orphaned Well Program has four phases that ADEQ will carry out over a three-year period, from October 2022 to December 2025:

Phase 1 - Site Assessment — File reviews are conducted to gather well ownership, location, geology, and other information to help ADEQ determine if the well is eligible for the program and confirm well location when going in the field. Wells must be located on State or private land to be eligible for the program.*

Phase 2 - Site Characterization — State contractors, who are focused on employing displaced oil and gas workers, conduct fieldwork. This includes working with landowners to access the potential orphaned well site, gathering additional information about the well and the area, verifying well locations, and conducting environmental sampling of air, soil and water (surface water and groundwater where available). ADEQ will prioritize well plugging based on field conditions and sample results. If needed, ADEQ will work with the community and property owners to temporarily restrict well site access to address public health and environmental concerns before well plugging activities.

Phase 3 - Plugging — ADEQ will work closely with property owners and nearby community members to coordinate well plugging activities. Well plugging involves placing cement into the wellbore, at appropriate depth intervals, to seal off zones, or layers, where oil or gas was found, and then placing a permanent cap on the well. Confirmation methane testing will be conducted to ensure the well was plugged correctly.

Phase 4 - Site Remediation — If needed, ADEQ will conduct cleanup or restoration of the landscape surrounding the plugged well to return the area to its original state. These activities may include removing affected soil, grading surrounding landscape to match native ground cover and re-planting native species.

Think you found an orphaned well?

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*Please note, wells located on federal or Tribal lands are not covered under the grant and therefore are not part of the program.