Plugging abandoned wells boosts economy, puts oilfield workers back to work
OKLAHOMA CITY –The Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma is urging the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) to request Governor Kevin Stitt direct federal funding provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to plug abandoned wells—helping to restore jobs for oilfield service workers displaced by the pandemic-driven price crash.
The State of Oklahoma received $1.2 billion in federal funds to be used for COVID-19 related expenses, emergencies and pandemic preparedness. Governor Kevin Stitt formed a bipartisan legislative advisory work group, Cares Forward, to effectively distribute the CARES Act funds. The formal process to be considered for these funds began June 1.
In a recent letter to the OCC, Alliance president Brook A. Simmons made a formal request for the Governor’s task force to grant a portion of CARES Act funds to the orphan well plugging program. He notes other states are utilizing CARES Act funds to directly support the oil and gas sector. North Dakota approved $33.1 million of its $1.25 billion total CARES Act aid for the state’s oil and natural gas sector, which includes support for plugging orphaned wells. Other oil and gas states also are considering using CARES Act funds to plug wells.
“Oklahoma’s economy is intricately tied to the success of crude oil and natural gas producers, midstream companies, refiners, and hundreds of service companies that support the industry or help turn commodities into consumer products,” Simmons said.
“For a state so dependent on the oil and natural gas industry, we should leverage CARES Act funding to support Oklahoma’s bedrock industry and restore jobs for oilfield workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a clear way to boost Oklahoma’s econom, with the added benefit of improving our environment and preparing the state for future drilling activity as we recover.”