Re-abandoning Oil Well in Los Angeles

Did you know that Los Angeles sits on top of the third largest oil field in the country? Did you know oil rigs are scattered covertly throughout the city, near schools, malls and even a in the middle of residential neighborhoods? And for every active oil well, there are ten or more wells that were abandoned sometime in the beginning to middle of the last century. Although the wells abandoned in the last few decades were abandoned using methods that are considered protective of human health and groundwater resources, wells abandoned prior to the 1980s’ are suspect.

The location and condition of abandoned wells typically remains unknown until a builder attempts to develop a building over or near one of these wells. In such cases developers and/or owners of said properties may be faced with uncertainties and adverse property conditions due to improper abandonment by the oil company based on current abandonment standards. Such adverse conditions may thwart development, create a hazardous situation, and ultimately adversely affect the monetary worth of the property.

Recently, Andersen Environmental was able to assist a developer locate and re-abandon several well located on a hillside property slated for development of affordable housing units and a community center near Downtown Los Angeles. Specific challenges overcome included terracing the site to accommodate the abandonment rigs, special handling of the oil impacted soil encountered in the area of the oil wells, and the condition of the oil wells which were up to 80 years old. In addition, the well casings were deteriorated and filled with debris (“junk”) left behind when the oil wells were originally abandoned. Nonetheless, the identified wells were completely drilled out and cemented according to current Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) regulations and to the satisfaction of our client.

By: Jorge Caicedo, Digital Marketing Manager

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