TOOLE COUNTY — The Treasure State is known for its oil and gas production. Located north of Hi-Line towns of Shelby and Cut Bank, is where one non-profit known as the 'Well Done Foundation' kicked off the first of its "Field Experiences," in which WDF members participated in the measuring, monitoring, and plugging of an orphaned well.
An abandoned or orphaned oil well is a well that was once used by oil and gas drilling companies to retrieve those fossil fuels from the earth, but has since been left to its own devices. Companies can decide to orphan wells for a number of reasons, including struggling oil prices and bankruptcy.
The WDF believes this is the first time that a hands-on field experience has been offered to the public. Participants, otherwise referred to as, “WDF Climate Roughnecks,” joined the WDF crew in working together to plug a legacy oil well that was drilled in 1930 and has been orphaned for more than 30 years, emitting approximately 400 cars’ worth of methane each year.
Jordana Barrack arrived from Colorado. She serves as the executive director for the Mighty Arrow Family Foundation. She stated why she decided to participate and work alongside the 'Well Done Foundation.'
"One of our main goals is to work on some of these climate emissions and how we can make changes in reducing emissions around the world. Methane is some of the low hanging fruit that we can work on. I try to find what non-profits are working on capping oil and gas oil or working on methane reductions. The 'Well Done Foundation' is kind of the only one that is doing this type of work from what I've been able to find."
The WDF says there are hundreds of open, orphaned oil wells in Montana, each emitting as much carbon and methane as hundreds of cars per annum. The WDF’s process of plugging orphaned oil wells curtails 100% of emissions immediately and permanently.
Chikashi Togashi, a resident of Japan, participated alongside WDF.
"I'm a former city officer, and now I'm interested in oil wells," Togashi said. "In my city, in Japan, we had the same problem. That's why I needed to study here."
The 'Well Done Foundation' works with farmers and landowners, local and state governments, corporations and not-for-profit organizations to locate abandoned wells, measure and document the CO2 emissions, then plug the wells and restore the surrounding surface area to its original state.
To learn more, click here to visit the website.
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