Well plugging funds dwindling in Oklahoma…state hopes to get new federal help

Abandoned, rusty well equipment in a shrubby desert area.



As the fiscal year is about to end for state government agencies, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports its funding for the state’s expanded abandoned well plugging program is dwindling.

The agency recently notified pluggers and others that “unfortunately, both federal and state funds supporting the effort are now at minimum levels for this fiscal year which ends June 30.”

The Oil and Gas Division said as a result, it was unable to take new bids on plugging projects. After funding is again available, the agency plans to notifiy the interested parties.

While the remaining funds are at minimum levels, there is still enough on hand to respond to emergency plugs.

So far in the current fiscal year, Oklahoma’s well plugging effort involved $19,883,652.84 in funding from the government’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and another $6,926,058.74 in state funding sources.

The agency indicated the response in the past year was “tremendous” and the available funds helped finane 952 through the IIJA well program and another 385 under the State Fund Wells program.

The total is more than the previous 5 fiscal years combined.

The Corporation Commission indicated it is in the process of preparing a new IIJA grant for the coming fiscal year.

Nationally, the IIJA included $4.7 billion invested in the plugging of orphaned oil and gas wells and the Interior Department awarded the first round of $560 million to 24 states to begin the work.