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Interior Dept: Oil Companies Must Plug Non-Producing Wells

The Interior Department today announced that it would require companies with leases in the Gulf of Mexico to permanently plug thousands of wells that are no longer producing oil or natural gas.

According to an Interior Department statement:

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael R. Bromwich today announced they will require oil and gas companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico to set permanent plugs in nearly 3,500 nonproducing wells that are currently completed with a subsurface safety valve in place and dismantle about 650 oil and gas production platforms if they are no longer being used for exploration or production.

Bromwich said in the statement:

As infrastructure continues to age, the risk of damage increases. That risk increases substantially during storm season. This initiative is the product of careful thought and analysis and requires that these wells, platforms and pipelines are plugged and dismantled correctly and in a timely manner to substantially reduce such hazards.

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