Shanna Chrisitian, 2016, Geosciences

Previous research on the project I worked on this summer indicates that abandoned oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania may be a significant source of methane emissions to the atmosphere. There are more than three million abandoned oil and gas wells that exist in the U.S. and no records of their methane emissions occur on any greenhouse gas inventory reports. Information on many of these abandoned wells is lost. Data on depth of well and the formations from which the well likely produced are important when evaluating the well’s potential to emit methane and when developing mitigation strategies. My task was to use geospatial analysis and publicly available databases to determine the likely depth and producing formations of the abandoned oil and gas wells that we have measured for methane fluxes. I developed a framework to evaluate the nearest oil and gas well, pool, and field attributes and to assign depth and producing formations to the measured wells based on how well these attributes match. I will be incorporating this research into my senior thesis and expanding on it by looking at abandoned oil and gas wells in West Virginia.