High-Emitting Well Sits Just a Few Feet Away from an Occupied Residence
Erie County, Pa. – Jan. 26, 2023 – The Well Done Foundation (WDF) announced today that through a partnership with Colo.-based Project Canary Foundation it will plug a high-emitting orphaned natural gas well in Erie County, Pa. according to WDF founder and Chairman Curtis Shuck. There are over 2 million orphaned oil and gas wells currently in the U.S., according to estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These wells can leak harmful methane and other dangerous gases like hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), posing a threat to our land, water, and communities.
The well, originally called Bear Run #1, is situated 15 feet away from an occupied mobile home in the manufactured housing community. Plugging will commence on Feb. 1. Project Canary will deploy high-fidelity air sensors to measure methane and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) pre- and post-plugging.
“The WDF is excited to be working with The Project Canary Foundation to plug this undocumented orphan well in Erie County,” said WDF Chairman Curtis Shuck. “WDF and Project Canary have been developing this type of collaboration for more than six months and it is amazing to see the first project come to life in Pennsylvania.”
When Nacopoulos purchased the mobile home park in the early 1970s, he was unaware that there were natural gas wells on the property. It wasn’t until 2022 that he accidentally discovered the Bear Run #1 Undocumented Orphan Well located just a mere 15 feet from an occupied mobile home. He was looking for a water shut-off valve when he opened the underground vault that concealed the undocumented orphaned well. Nacopoulos smelled a strange odor and reached out to a local contractor who in turn contacted the WDF. The WDF immediately sampled the air around the orphaned well and discovered that it contained high levels of methane and other harmful greenhouse gases. Due to its age and deteriorated condition, the well was allowing gas to leak past its valve.
The WDF then worked with Nacopoulos and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to begin the “Well Done Process” to eliminate leaks and protect the community. This well is being plugged with support from The Project Canary Foundation.
“There are millions of abandoned wells across the country—working to plug them makes a real, tangible difference when it comes to air quality. We’re committed to protecting the Erie, Pa. community from the risks of dangerous gases like methane and HAPs. Confronting climate change demands resilience and collaboration,” said Miles Tolbert of the Project Canary Foundation. “We’re proud to partner with the WDF to build a brighter future for all.”
The “Well Done Process” is a multi-step initiative built upon public and private partnerships. WDF identifies high emitting orphaned and abandoned oil or gas wells and then qualifies them through a rigorous measurement and monitoring rubric. Then, through partnerships with regulatory bodies and landowners, WDF develops a plan to plug the wells and restore impacted surface areas. Funding for each project is made possible through corporate or individual sponsorships.
ABOUT PROJECT CANARY
Project Canary® is an environmental data and software company that collects, analyzes, quantifies, and visualizes asset-level environmental risk assessments and emission profiles. As a measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) solution, the Canary SENSE Platform™ integrates a networked sensor canopy, including 3rd party sensor data and assessment scores, to provide independently verifiable climate attribute data for upstream, midstream, and CCS (carbon capture and sequestration) projects. Project Canary’s insights help energy organizations improve performance, manage risks, and deliver auditable decarbonization data. Formed as a Public Benefit Corporation, the U.S. Colorado-based team includes scientists, engineers, and industry operators focused on the path to True Zero™. The Project Canary Foundation is dedicated to plugging abandoned oil and gas wells to make a measurable impact on the course of climate change. Visit https://projectcanaryfoundation.org/
About the Well Done Foundation
Formed in 2019, the Well Done Foundation enables the oil and gas industry to partner with the conservation community to create an alternative pathway to success that benefits all. The Well Done Process, which does not include any public funding, creates a strategic partnership among regulators, surface owners and adoptive parties, leading to a safe and seamless system that provides cost-effective and lasting results that improve the environment while working with the industry in a transparent structure that delivers value to its Triple Bottom Line: community partnerships (people), environmental responsibility (planet), and economic benefits (profit). Montana’s Golden Triangle Region is home to some of the richest soil and most productive growing acres in the United States. The Well Done Foundation works with its partners to transition the orphaned well sites into their next levels of service. For more information, visit https://welldonefoundation.org/