FJA Shortlist 2021

Category: Excellence in Environmental Journalism

Author: Mya Frazier (United States)

Gas Companies Are Abandoning Their Wells, Leaving Them to Leak Methane Forever

The original publication is available via the following link: 

Bloomberg Green Magazine - September 17, 2020

Just one orphaned site in California could have emitted more than 30 tons of methane. There are millions more like it

The story of gas well No. 095-20708 begins on Nov. 10, 1984, when a drill bit broke the Earth’s surface 4 miles north of Rio Vista, Calif. Wells don’t have birthdays, so this was its “spud date.”

The drill chewed through the dirt at a rate of 80 ½ feet per hour, reaching 846 feet below ground that first day. By Thanksgiving it had gotten a mile down, finally stopping 49 days later, having laid 2.2 miles of steel pipe and cement on its way to the “pay zone,” an underground field containing millions of dollars’ worth of natural gas.

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