The Pine Ridge fire prompted me to download the latest oil and gas well information from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (think about that name for a sec…). I filtered it based on the well status codes to include only those wells that could be considered currently in operation. Then I plugged the data into Google Earth Pro. Good times! Here’s a series of statewide overviews showing the results.
Status Code PR = “Producing.” These wells are currently producing commercial quantities of oil and/or gas into the pipeline network. The main event. 43,383 wells:
Status Code SI = “Shut In.” The next biggest category, these are wells that have had production temporarily stopped. This is done for maintenance or repairs, or to limit gas supplies to prop up gas prices (natural gas prices are currently very low). 2,060 wells:
Status Code IJ = “Injecting.” These are wells that inject wastewater into the ground for disposal. Wastewater can include flowback from fracking operations, produced liquids (brine) that come up with the oil and gas, and drilling fluids. A recent investigative journalism article described some of the problems and uncertainties associated with wastewater injection. 677 wells:
Status Code TA = “Temporarily Abandoned.” These wells are out of production and are waiting to be permanently plugged and abandoned. An AP investigative report examined the risks of improperly abandoned wells, and of wells that are allowed by state regulators to linger for years as “temporarily abandoned” without being properly plugged. 552 wells:
Status Code WO = “Waiting On Completion.” Wells that have been drilled, but not yet put into production. Various completion operations (possibly including hydraulic fracturing, or fracking) have yet to performed. 470 wells:
Status Code DG = “Drilling.” Wells that are currently being drilled. Not yet completed, not yet in production. Drill crews and other workers are probably on site. 346 wells:
Status Code AC = “Active.” We have no idea what this means. Anybody know? We’ll take it at face value though. 249 wells:
Here’s the whole shootin’ match. All of the wells from the above categories that we deem to be currently operational oil and gas wells in the great state of Colorado. 47,737 wells:
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