Active Sustainability: Addressing Orphaned & Abandoned Wells

May 9th, 2024

PG-Blog-MainImage-Blog-EASEmbracing Active Sustainability: Addressing Orphan, Abandoned, Idle and Marginal Wells

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) and the Pittsburgh Petroleum Geology Societies recently convened a pivotal session titled "Orphan, Abandoned, Idle and Marginal Wells: Opportunities with Plugging, Repurposing Carbon Credits and More." This gathering brought together industry leaders to explore innovative solutions to the challenges posed by neglected wells in the energy landscape. Among the featured presenters was Luke Plants, CEO of Plants & Goodwin, who delivered a compelling presentation on "Active Sustainability: Orphaned Wells and Transformational Opportunity."

Key Points from Luke Plants' Presentation

Luke Plants opened his presentation with a thought-provoking statement, "Sustainability is a buzzword, and I hate buzzwords. People come to conferences and use sustainability all the time to show that they're an ally, but it allows you to diffuse accountability; so, when something fails, you get to say you were on the right side but have an excuse for why it didn't work.”

He emphasized the need for active sustainability, rejecting passive rhetoric in favor of tangible action. “Instead, we need to embrace active sustainability which is a holistic approach. It's great that we're reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting groundwater and restoring environmental justice, but active sustainability also is pro-business. It's pro-economy." 

Plants shared anecdotes highlighting the broader impact of orphan wells, illustrating how they can wreck investments and development projects unrelated to the energy sector. “We've done four jobs within the last year where major fulfillment centers for Fortune 100 companies, not oil and gas operators, were trying to build in the Appalachian Basin and uncovered orphan wells during their project, completely derailing billions of dollars of investment.”

Plants continued by outlining the economic implications of orphan wells, linking them to supply chain constraints and inflation, which are exacerbated by their discovery during unrelated development projects. "We have an inflation problem in America. Inflation in no small part is a result of supply chain constraints. Orphan wells contribute to the American inflation problem. We are doing a job in the suburbs of Buffalo in the coming weeks where a commercial developer has uncovered orphan wells on the build site for new homes. Today, private equity firms are buying up the housing supply throughout the country, making us a nation of renters. We have a supply shortage, and orphan wells are driving the housing supply shortage in America. We stand at a precipice of great opportunity, but we cannot let bureaucratic bottlenecks, middleman grift and fly-by-nights with uncalloused hands and dollar signs in their eyes spoil it for all of us."

Plants & Goodwin's Approach to Plug and Abandonment

Plants & Goodwin specializes in comprehensive Plug and Abandonment solutions, tailored for turnkey success. Their range of services goes beyond conventional oil and gas field services, addressing the unique demands of decommissioning projects. Led by seasoned industry experts, each Plants & Goodwin team ensures projects stay on schedule and within budget through open communication and a partnership-focused approach.

Plants & Goodwin's Approach to Plug and Abandonment

Addressing orphan, abandoned, idle and marginal wells requires a proactive approach that combines environmental stewardship with economic viability. Plants & Goodwin exemplifies this approach through their commitment to active sustainability and their turnkey model of Plug and Abandonment project management. As we navigate the challenges of the energy transition, companies like Plants & Goodwin play a crucial role in unlocking opportunities for sustainable development.

Contact Us


Tackling abandoned oil wells isn't just a job, it's an art and science. “We want to give you a long-term career,” says Luke Plants, CEO of Plants & Goodwin. If you’re committed to maintaining safety excellence and making a positive impact in the oil and gas industry, join our team.



Contact the experts at Plants & Goodwin today to explore tailored plug and abandonment services that meet your decommissioning needs.