We engage with governing agencies and landowners in the early planning stages and adjust development plans to minimize impacts to the land and sensitive environmental areas. Where possible, Whiting implements development through multi-well pads, which allow for significantly reduced surface disturbances. At the end of the completion phase, the well pad is generally reduced in size as the space allocated for temporary drilling and completions equipment is removed. The area that is deemed unnecessary for normal operations is ecologically and aesthetically reclaimed.
During normal oil and gas production operations, a well may become inactive due to diminished economic returns resulting from declining production, market conditions, or technical problems (e.g., equipment or casing failure). Well status is managed between several levels including: Active, Shut-in (turned off), Temporarily Abandoned and Plugged and Abandoned. A well may be kept in a shut-in or temporarily abandoned status to keep a lease if it is the only well holding the lease. The period of time a well can spend in an inactive status is regulated at the state level, as well as federal level if there are federal minerals involved. A well that is shut-in or temporary abandoned status can be returned to production under the right economic conditions. Active well economics are conducted periodically, especially when there has been a sudden change in the rate of return. After the producing life of a well pad ends and the existing well(s) on a pad are plugged,processing equipment is removed (recycled, reused, or properly disposed of) and the site is reclaimed completely to its original condition, including native vegetation.
For more than 12 years, Whiting has worked with land and mineral owners Fred and Joyce Evans in Mountrail County, North Dakota. Fred, a North Dakota native, has several dozen Whiting pads throughout his land he still uses for farming and hunting.
Land Remediation Facts:
- Well plugging and facility reclamation is regulated at the state level and by the BLM for federal leases.
- Reclamation in the Upstream Oil and Gas industry includes:
- Surface Facilities
- Access Roads
- Gathering pipeline
- Lands are generally protected by bonds that are typically required for wells and pipelines that can be used to cover reclamation costs.The bonds are released once the final reclamation is approved by the appropriate regulating agency.