27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

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Leading environmental groups and a U.S. senator on Wednesday called on the government to pay closer attention to more than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico and take action to keep them from leaking even more crude into water already tainted by the massive BP spill…

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In an undated photo released by the California State Lands Commission, a nearshore wellhead is excavated off California. In state waters, California has resealed scores of its abandoned wells since the 1980s, but in federal waters, the official policy is out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Neither industry nor government checks for leaks at the more than 27,000 oil and gas wells abandoned in the Gulf of Mexico since the late 1940s. Abandoned wells are known sometimes to fail both on land and offshore.
It happens so often that a technical term has been coined for the repair job: ‘re-abandonment.’