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Surface Owners say DEP needs at least 45, not just 23, oil and gas inspectors.
Updates and Alerts WVSORO February 7, 2023
Senate Bill 448 and House Bill 3110 have passed out of the Energy Committees in their respective houses and are now in their Finance Committees.  The DEP and the industry and the Governor and maybe some Legislator agreed to fund a total of 23 inspectors in this bill.  No one talked to us surface owners whether we agreed to that number -- and we are where the wells are leaking and stinking! More
Issues: DEPOil and GasPollution
WVSORO Points Out that Much More Funding Is Needed for Many More Inspectors
Blog WVSORO February 7, 2023
See the latest under Newslinks for where we are February 4, 2023.  Right now the Legislation will only give us half the inspectors per wells that Pennsylvania and Ohio have. Contact your legislators and ask for more -- at least 45 -- at this web site. More
Issues: DEPOil and Gas
WVSORO comments to EPA about how Inflation Reduction Act money should be used.
Abandoned Well Advice WVSORO January 17, 2023
Here is an op-ed written by WVSORO co-founder that appeared in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.  The op-ed mimics comments that were made to EPA about how the money should be used to find and reduce methane leaks on surface owners' land and not subsidize drillers who have wells they should already be plugging. More
Issues: Abandoned wellsOrphaned wells
Reducing Noise in Gas Drilling and Production
Noise Advice WVSORO November 4, 2022
Sound is a form of energy. Think of throwing a rock in to a pool of water; it will make waves that move away from the rock. As the waves get farther from the rock, they get weaker More
If you find out there is a proposal to plug an oil or gas well on your land, what should you do?
Abandoned Well AdviceAdvice WVSORO July 19, 2022
A big increase in well plugging is starting to happen. To know how you should react go to our web page, and do so right away! More
Issues: Abandoned wells
Update on forced pooling/unitization; and plugging; and inspectors
Updates and Alerts WVSORO June 14, 2022
The most significant oil and gas/surface owner/mineral owner legislation to come out of the Legislature earlier this year was the new forced pooling/unitization statute.  (Technically it is the "unitization" part that affects us, and pooling is about fights between drillers, so we will compromise with popular terminology and use the slashed term "pooling/unitization".) More
Issues: Pooling
Have  you been threatened with forced pooling/unitization?  Have your received papers giving you notice of a forced pooling/unitization hearing? 
Leasing / Amendment Advice WVSORO June 7, 2022
This is WVSORO's advice to mineral owners (and assurance to surface owners) after passage of forced pooling/unitization legislation effective June, 2022. More
Issues: Pooling
Summary.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
So plugging is not capping.  Old oil and gas wells need plugged.  This needs done properly or serious problems can occur.  And it needs State and surface owner and coal owner and mineral owner oversight to be sure that pluggers avoid the temptation to save money and get to the next job.  It needs oversight while it is happening so that they do not save money by cutting corners that cannot be seen once the job is finished. More
Bad plug job results.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
So again, numerous problems can arise from improper plugging.  This is an illustration of some of them.  The methane can leak up into coal formations, into gas and other porous or permeable formations between the producing formation and the coal. More
Bad plug job.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
Again, our purpose #3 for this slide show, is to illustrate the concern is that if a plugging company is not well overseen, it may take shortcuts to save money.  This illustration shows that the tubing was pulled, but the production casing was not pulled -- only cut off a few tens of feet below ground.  More
API number on monument to plugged well.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
The API number required to be on the monument was done with welding in this case.  Note the grey cement from teh surface cement job at the bottom of the monument. More
Surface reclaimed and mistakes hidden.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
After the well is plugged and the monument set, the area disturbed is to be "reclaimed"  to avoid soil erosion and sedimentation.  (Surface owners, particularly farmers, may want to insist on certain seed types.) More
Isolating other gas bearing formations.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
This is a different illustration from another source of a well before and after plugging.  It does not show a coal seam (like there almost always is in West Virginia) but it does show multiple oil and gas formations that are likely here in West Virginia.  More
Plugged well overview drawing.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
This drawing summarizes this simplified plugging explanation.  The actual details of the plugging for an individual well will be in the plugging permit application and its approval which are, at least since 1929 or so, on record with the Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Oil and Gas, under the well's API number. More
Cementing to surface.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
Cement is then again placed in the borehole (and inside the surface casing pipe that was placed at the top of the hole and cemented in during drilling) all the way to the surface.  At the top it is required that a "monument" be placed at the surface to mark the well's plugged location.  Usually this is a four-foot metal pipe stuck in the surface cement job and itself is filled with cement. More
One more clay layer.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
Again bentonite clay is placed above the cement bridge that is placed through the coal seam (though in some circumstances cement may be continued from the bottom of the coal all the way to the surface). More
Dealing with the coal seam.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
Coal seams also need to be isolated from any gas pressure or invasion.  For one thing, coal seams have a form of cracks called cleats that can allow the gas to travel broadly in the horizontal plane and cause problems anywhere the coal seam is breached or even if it comes to the surface  Also, increasing the methane in coal seams makes them harder to mine.  And finally, and most importantly, it would be very dangerous to miners for a continuous mining machine to cut through a gas well that was not properly plugged and leak poisonous and explosive gas into the coal mine! More
Using clay and cement to plug un-cemented, now un-cased, bore hole.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
A special form of clay or other material is used for the next layer of plugging the borehole.  This clay is often bentonite clay, a clay that expands as it soaks up water.  It is very similar to kitty litter.  It has other additives sometimes to do the best job.  Probably because it is cheaper than cementing all the way to the top, most of the vertical height of the plug in the borehole is clay as we shall see in the next slides.  It is shown as yellow in these slides.   More
Killing the production formation and cementing above it.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
After the tubing and un-cemented casing has been pulled out of the well, the plugger starts to actually plug up the bore hole headnidg up to teh surface plus any casing that is cemented into the bore hole.  More
UN-cemented casing has been pulled.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
This graphic shows that the casing pipe that is not cemented into the well borehole has been cut at the bottom and pulled out the same way the tubing was. The casing pipe that has been cemented into the borehole cannot be removed (except sometimes later for coal mining -- see later slide).  It is hoped that the cementing of the cemented casing pipe that is left in at the time of plugging was done right when the well was drilled and cemented.  More
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