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API, Well Done Foundation Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Cooperate on Plugging Orphaned Wells

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WASHINGTON, January 25, 2023 – The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Well Done Foundation today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate across a range of activities related to reducing emissions and the proper plugging of orphaned or abandoned natural gas and oil wells.  

“API has strong industry standards for well design and execution as well as plug and abandonment operations. By working with the Well Done Foundation, API is taking action to ensure American natural gas and oil is produced responsibly from start to finish,” API Vice President for Standards and Segment Services Alexa Burr said. “This partnership is one example of our industry’s commitment to decreasing emissions, enhancing sustainability and promoting environmental protection as outlined in API’s Climate Action Framework."

“Working together with our industry partners at API we are able to continue making a real and measurable difference one well at a time,” Well Done Foundation Chairman Curtis Shuck said, “by collaborating to share learnings, improve processes, enhance standards and develop workforce, jointly we deliver a huge win-win that provides benefits back to the entire industry, the environment and our communities.”  

The MOU aims to establish cooperation and a constructive partnership between both organizations through: 

  • Advancing the use and implementation of API standards in the Well Done Foundation’s activities. 
  • Promoting cooperation and exchange of information about standardization practices and procedures related to plugging of wells, including API standards, guidelines and recommended practices.
  • Facilitating the participation of Well Done Foundation subject-matter experts in API’s standards development process. 

The MOU comes as industry, government and civil society intensify efforts to address orphaned wells across the country to promote groundwater protection and mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated about $4.7 billion to states, tribes and federal agencies for plugging, abandonment, remediation and restoration targeting more than 100,000 documented orphaned wells.  

API is the leading standards-setting body for the natural gas and oil industry and in 2021 published API Recommended Practice (RP) 65-3, Wellbore Plugging and Abandonment, that provides guidance for the design, placement and verification of cement plugs used to temporarily or permanently close natural gas and oil wells. RP 65-3 builds on decades of work and good practices to enhance well integrity, safety and sustainability. Documents like RP 65-3 and API Specification 10-A, Cements and Materials for Well Cementing, 25th edition, provide key guidance to help nationwide efforts to plug and permanently close abandoned wells. Specification 10-A outlines requirements and recommendations for well cements, as well as their chemical and physical requirements, and procedures for physical testing. These documents provide key guidance that help countrywide efforts to plug and abandon orphaned wells.

API represents all segments of America’s natural gas and oil industry, which supports more than 11 million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of millions of Americans. Our approximately 600 members produce, process and distribute the majority of the nation’s energy, and participate in API Energy Excellence®, which is accelerating environmental and safety progress by fostering new technologies and transparent reporting. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization and has developed more than 800 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.

The Well Done Foundation strives to solve the nation’s orphaned well problem “One Well at a Time” by plugging orphaned natural gas and oil wells with the support of donors and corporate sponsors. The Well Done Foundation’s work results in surface restorations and the immediate elimination of greenhouse gas emissions from orphaned wells.  


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