The state Department of Natural Resources’ Office of Conservation is doing an inadequate job of regulating and inspecting the state’s oil and gas wells, and is not properly overseeing a growing number of “orphaned” wells abandoned by private operators, according to a report released Monday by Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera.
The result is an increasing state financial burden for cleaning up environmental problems caused by improperly operated wells and for plugging wells that have been abandoned by oil and gas companies, the report concluded. . . .
” . . . Unlike other leading oil and gas production states — including Texas, Oklahoma and California — Louisiana has only required 25 percent of the state’s 57,819 wells to be properly covered by financial security agreements, the report said. That’s because the state’s financial security law that took effect in 2000 resulted in 18,000 wells being grandfathered, and state officials have found that another 24,000 wells meet exemption criteria set up by the law. . . “
[snip] . . . The U.S. Geological Survey has been studying the increase in earthquakes larger than 3.0 in the central and eastern United States in recent years. There have been more than 100 a year on average in the last four years, up from 20 a year between 1970 to 2000.
The USGS studies suggest that the increased number of earthquakes coincides with the injection of wastewater deep underground, a process that occurs after an oil extraction technique called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”