The Two Entities to Collaborate by Sharing Data, Expertise, and Potentially Field Work on Orphaned Wells

Reston, VA and Bozeman, MT – June 7, 2023 – The Well Done Foundation (WDF) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), a Bureau of the Department of the Interior, today jointly announced they have entered into a Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA), wherein both parties will collaborate by sharing data and expertise as well as potential field work on orphaned oil and gas wells.

“This partnership will allow the USGS to analyze new sources of data to identify geologic sources and engineering factors associated with orphaned well emissions using newly collected measurements in the field,” USGS physical scientist Nicholas Gianoutsos said.  “The goal of this collaboration is to help advance our understanding of emissions and to aid efforts to prioritize orphaned wells for plugging.”

The TAA, which was executed through the USGS’s offices of its Energy Resources Program (ERP), will be focused on studying the location and environmental impact of orphaned wells and, as such, will require well location and remediation data, methane emission measurements, and associated data to support its mission.

The WDF’s objective to plug the nation’s abandoned orphaned wells will greatly benefit from the USGS’s expertise in geologic interpretation of emission data. The collaborative project, entitled “Sharing of Data from Orphaned Wells,” is intended by both parties to be mutually beneficial and to benefit the people of the United States.

“This TAA with the U.S. Geological Survey will allow us to share invaluable data on the environmental impact of the wells we monitor and plug,” WDF Chairman and founder Curtis Shuck said. “As it turns out, the Well Done Foundation seems to have the most comprehensive orphan well emissions data in the United States that we have assembled as a result of our methane quantification work over the past three years, on projects from border-to-border and coast-to- coast. Sharing this data and jointly publishing case studies and field characteristics is consistent with our mission of complete transparency with regard to orphaned wells’ contribution to climate change.”

The USGS is authorized to perform technical assistance with other federal agencies, units of state or local government, industrial organizations, private corporations, public and private foundations, and nonprofit organizations (including universities) under the Stevenson-Wydler Act.


About the Well Done Foundation

A nonprofit formed in 2019, the Well Done Foundation’s mission is to fight climate change by plugging the estimated 2.15 million orphaned oil and gas wells in the United States. The WDF works with farmers and landowners, local and state government, corporations, and other nonprofits to locate the orphaned wells, measure and document methane and CO2 emissions, plug the wells, and restore the surface areas to their original state.   WellDoneFoundation.org

About the U.S. Geological Survey

Created by an act of Congress in 1879, the USGS provides science for a changing world, which reflects and responds to society’s continuously evolving needs. As the science arm of the Department of the Interior, the USGS brings an array of earth, water, biological, and mapping data and expertise to bear in support of decision-making on environmental, resource, and public safety issues. https://www.usgs.gov/






Media contact:   John McIsaac

503-481-9621 (West Coast)