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State will hold meeting on closing oil and gas wells

The Kentucky Division of Oil and Gas will hold a virtual meeting on Wednesday, June 1, at 2 p.m. EST to outline the requirements and Finance Cabinet RFP procedures for contractor participation in the upcoming orphan well-plugging program funded through the Federal Infrastructure Act.

The Division of Oil and Gas is in the process of applying for more than $100 million through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to address the orphan well issue in the commonwealth.

The program’s goal will be to address the areas of greatest need, the sites with the most impact on citizen health and on the air, soil, surface, and groundwater resources.

336 wells in Hancock County

Hancock County Judge/Executive Johnny “Chic” Roberts said that the issue of orphaned wells in the county is not something which has been brought up to him in his time in office.

“Right now, we are focused on assisting Big Rivers in remediation of the Coleman Station site, but if this is a pot of money that can help the people of Hancock County, we certainly need to look into it,” Roberts said.

According to a Division of Oil and Gas database online at, there are 336 oil and natural gas wells in Hancock County considered as abandoned or orphaned. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, a national science-based nonprofit, there are more than 14,000 such abandoned wells in Kentucky, making the state home to about a fifth of known wells nationwide.

Closing these wells costs $25-75,000 each, according to the Energy and Environment Cabinet, and Kentucky’s funding provides for closing about a quarter of them.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Governor Andy Beshear are in agreement the funding will be a benefit to Kentuckians.

“The abandoned oil and gas well littered across Kentucky are a liability to our Commonwealth, providing no jobs or output,” McConnell said in a statement. “This is a problem in nearly every county, but until now, our local governments have not had the funding required to complete cleanup projects on a large scale.”

EEC has long operated a program to close those wells identify by agency inspectors as a priority for environmental and safety reasons. The agency says 3,750 wells have been closed through the program, which is funded through bond forfeitures.

In addition to closing priority wells, EEC will continue work to identify those wells currently unknown.

Contractors meeting June 1

All contractors who are looking to submit bids under this program are encouraged to attend this informational meeting.

To attend virtually: Please join the meeting from a computer, tablet or smartphone:
You can also dial in using a phone: United States: +1 (571) 317-3122 Access Code: 919-774-181

If you have questions about connecting to the videoconference, please contact Danielle Crosman at 502-782-6590.


  • Call to order
  • PowerPoint detailing requirements and Finance Cabinet RFP procedures for contractor participation in the upcoming orphan well plugging program.
  • Q&A (time permitting)

• Adjournment

By C. Josh Givens

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