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Montana receives funding to plug oil wells abandoned on state and private land

An abandoned oil and gas well.
Hillebrand Steve
Wikimedia Commons
An abandoned oil and gas well.

Montana is among two dozen states receiving federal funding to plug abandoned oil and gas wells on state and private property.

Montana is getting $25 million to cap more than 250 orphaned wells – ones left behind in the years before regulation required companies to restore land after drilling it.

“Montana gets about $650,000 every two years ... for our orphaned well plugging,” said state Board of Oil and Gas Conservation administrator Ben Jones. “So, having the opportunity to get enough money to plug all the current orphaned wells would be a huge advantage to the state.”

Jones estimates the state will need to hire 8 service crews to plug all the orphaned wells scattered across Montana by 2025.

Wyoming is also receiving $25 million to remediate orphaned wells and locate undocumented ones.

The funds are among a total of $560 million the U.S. Department of the Interior is distributing to 24 states to plug an estimated 10,000 orphaned wells.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.