Abandonment and Reclamation
If tests indicate the well is a dry hole, not capable of
producing commercial quantities of oil and gas, the drilling crew plugs the wellbore with cement and cleans up the site. A similar procedure is followed if
a producing well is no longer economical to operate.
Because of the stringent environmental regulations, the
cost of abandonment and cleanup is a significant factor in an oil company's
planning. The company remains responsible for the site until a reclamation
certificate is issued by government authorities. It can take years to complete
Petroleum Communication Foundation. Our Petroleum Challenge: Exploring Canada's Oil and Gas Industry, Sixth Edition. Calgary: Petroleum Communication Foundation, 1999. With permission from the Centre for Energy.