Senate panel to hear issue of legacy wells

The issue of cleaning up abandoned wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska is coming before a U.S. Senate committee.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing on the matter Thursday. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is a member of the panel.

The so-called legacy wells were drilled under the federal government’s direction as part of an exploratory oil and gas program between 1944 and 1981. They are currently managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

BLM-Alaska has been working with the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to prioritize the plugging and reclamation of well sites. A single project can cost millions of dollars in large part due to mobilization costs. BLM-Alaska gets about $1 million a year to manage legacy wells.