Oil & Gas

Louisiana's orphaned well program

Fact sheet

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Louisiana Oilfield Site Restoration Program was created in 1993 within the state Department of Natural Resources to address the growing problem of un-restored orphaned oilfield sites. The focus of the program is to properly plug and abandon orphan wells in addition to properly restore the site to approximate pre-well site conditions suitable for redevelopment.

Program Funding

Revenue for the Oilfield Site Restoration Program is generated from a fee on oil and gas production in the state which is paid quarterly by Louisiana oil and gas operators.  The fee for full-rate production consists of one and one-half cents ($.015) for every barrel of oil and condensate produced, and three-tenths of one cent ($.003) for every (mcf) thousand cubic feet of gas produced.

The fund collects about $4.5 million each year.

How is a well site orphaned?

The term “orphaned” refers to the current status of a particular well site and indicates that the operator of record is no longer a viable responsible party.  Following a specific notification procedure, well sites are declared officially orphaned after being sent to the State Register to be published.

Number of Orphaned Wells Plugged

2306 at a cost of $64 million since 1993
Number of Wells Remaining Statewide

262 wells in water

How many orphan well sites does the OSR Program address in a year?

Funding provides for the program to address approximately 160 per fiscal year

How are wells selected?

The priority wells are those that are currently causing an environmental problem or pose a threat to the public health or the environment.

How do we ensure that orphan wells do not occur in the future?

Conservation rules require that operators post security (bonding) or by demonstration of an excellent compliance history.

Related Links:

About the Program
    -Louisiana's Oilfields - A Return to Green (Spring 2009)

Office of Conservation Oilfield Site Restoration Program

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