Reclamation of Abandoned Oil and Gas Well Pads in Arid Environments

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Paul Grossl


The Roosevelt Oil Field region (Duchene and Uintah Counties, Utah) is the 4th oldest Utah oil field in continuous production. As a result, there are a large number of Plugged and Abandoned (P&A) well sites. While restoration has been attempted at these sites, most attempts have failed. This is problematic because it limits the amount of available habitat for native plant and wildlife species. To identify the factors that were limiting restoration success, several sites of various ages and geology were randomly selected. Y-transects were set up at each of the sample sites. Vegetation cover was identified at each by species every foot along the 200-foot transect, and soil samples were collected every 40 feet. The soil samples were processed for EC, carbon, bulk density, metals, and pH. The primary factors which appear to be limiting restoration success are climate, geology and compaction. Secondary factors affecting the success of revegetation include salts and weed invasion. It is hoped that by understanding these limiting factors of oil pad reclamation, better management practices can be created.

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