State agency plans to increase plugging abandoned wells

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CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) – The New Mexico agency that regulates oil and natural gas development says it has a plan to start plugging more of the hundreds of abandoned wells located across the state.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports the state Oil Conservation Division is seeking to plug 41 wells on state land and 19 on private land during the current fiscal year.

State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn says the remediation of an abandoned well and the reclamation of the land costs about $100,000. Dunn challenged the division last month to increase plugging the 600 wells he says are abandoned on state trust land.

Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department Secretary Ken McQueen says many of the 600 wells are compliant. He says the division is committed to monitoring wells and addressing problematic operations.

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