NPR-A Legacy Wells Program

Current Status

The BLM is preparing to solicit for services to support the remediation of the NPR-A legacy wells. Learn more here>


 Spring 2015

BLM Completes Plugging of Legacy Wells at Umiat

BLM Alaska completed plugging of three legacy wells and removal of wellheads from three additional legacy wells at Umiat in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A) in April 2015.

Umiat Wells 1, 3, and 11 were plugged and wellheads removed. In addition, wellheads were removed at Umiat Wells 4, 8, and 10, which had been plugged previously. All well casings were cut off below ground level and buried beneath a mound of gravel and soil. All six wells had been drilled by the U.S. Navy from the mid-1940s to the early 1950s.

Umiat Well #1 Work CampPlugging of Umiat #1 took place within a heated space under the black tarp on the leftPlugging of Umiat #1 took place within a heated space under the black tarp on the left
Umiat Well #1 Work Camp/BLM Photo Rob BrumbaughPlugging of Umiat #1 took place within a heated space under the black tarp on the left/BLM Photo Rob Brumbaugh
Dozens of large bags of cement were used to plug the wells

Umiat #10 legacy well head

Dozens of large bags of cement were used to plug the wells/ BLM Photo Rob BrumbaughUmiat #10 was excavated for removal of the wellhead/BLM Photo Rob Brumbaugh.

Excavation of Umiat #10 before removal of the wellhead Video Clip by BLM Zach Lyons

FACTS

Did you know?

  • BLM received $50 million through the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013 for remediation, reclamation and closing of abandoned oil wells in NPR-A. These funds will allow the BLM to address high-priority wells and nearby lower priority wells.
  • The BLM has developed a strategic plan which identified the actions necessary for closing all legacy wells in the NPR-A.
  • Since 2002 the federal government has spent more than $96 million for plugging and surface cleanup of 21 priority legacy wells.