Unique partnership plugs old, leaking wells in Colorado


Cross-industry partnership drives innovative abandoned well clean up; Sen. Hickenlooper tours clean-up site, touts unique collaboration and IRA support

Colorado, May 31, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Adams County, CO – Colorado has thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells sprinkled throughout the state, many leaking methane and other hazardous emissions that pollute the air, impact groundwater and add to the impacts of climate change.

A new and unique partnership is using an innovative, market-driven approach to clean up these well sites and return them to nature.


Sen. John Hickenlooper toured an abandoned well site in Adams County last week to get a hands-on understanding of the methods and technology used to permanently close these wells.

The public-private partnership leading the initiative includes CarbonPath, an industrial carbon credit registry with methodologies that help finance the permanent closure of abandoned and orphan gas wells; Civitas Resources, Colorado’s first carbon neutral oil and gas producer; and Greenfield Environmental Solutions, a company focused on decommissioning energy sites and reclaiming the related land. To date, they are working collaboratively on nearly four dozen sites in northeastern Colorado that are high on the state’s clean up priority list.

Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), a champion for orphan and abandoned well clean up in Colorado and across the country, praised the unique partnership and touted provisions of the Infrastructure and Reinvestment Act (IRA) he authored that will provide federal dollars to supplement private sector actions. The Senator was also joined by officials from Adams County and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and representatives from Environmental Defense Fund and Conservation Colorado.

“This collaboration is a prime example of a public-private partnership that advances cutting-edge, market-driven solutions to solve big problems that benefit all Americans, under the careful watch and strong support of the state government,” said Tyler Crabtree, CEO of CarbonPath.
A University of Houston report analyzing the CarbonPath methodology has expressed confidence in its ability to address climate change through carbon dioxide and methane emissions reductions within existing structures. The methodology was deemed to be a catalyst for positive change in communities where low-producing and orphaned wells are located,

supporting well-paying, local jobs for the work necessary to plug and inspect the wells. CarbonPath plans to replicate this model across other states with orphaned and abandoned wells in the United States.

Positive community impact is a critical benefit to mitigating the negative externalities of well leakage, Civitas Chief Sustainability Officer Brian Cain highlights that, “doing the right thing is always a team effort and as a Colorado-based company, Civitas is proud to do its part because our employees live, work, and enjoy the outdoors here too.” As Colorado’s first carbon neutral oil and natural gas company, Civitas has committed to plugging 42 orphaned wells in partnership with the State to further improve our air quality and safeguard our communities.

As the chief decommissioning company, Greenfield’s CEO Michael Rigg is “excited to be a part of the restorative work this partnership is performing.” He made sure to note that Greenfield’s methane quantification and well plugging solutions ensure that orphan wells are plugged properly and no longer emit methane into the atmosphere.

“This orphan well represents just one of the nearly 1,800 documented orphaned wells in Colorado and as many as 1 million likely orphaned wells nationwide,” said Adam Peltz, Director and Senior Attorney for energy transition at Environmental Defense Fund. “Thanks to the great work of Senator Hickenlooper and his colleagues, who helped make the climate and community investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act a reality, we are at the forefront of a boom of stable, well-paying jobs that will help protect communities from the harmful pollution leaking from these abandoned wells.”

“When wells are left unattended, it is the nearby low-income communities of color in Colorado that suffer the most severe health consequences,” said Lorena Gonzalez, Communities & Justice Manager at Conservation Colorado. “It is imperative that we prioritize environmental justice in our clean-up efforts. This means holding the industry accountable to their obligations, ensuring effective communication and risk mitigation by the government, and ensuring that the newly created jobs benefit Black and Brown communities that have historically been deprived of livable wages.”

Each year, abandoned and low-producing oil and gas wells emit 2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gasses. For these emissions to be sequestered, a forest the size of Africa and China combined would need to grow for ten years. There is no denying the magnitude of the problem, and we must act now.

In order to address the problem of orphaned wells, CarbonPath is working with project developers as well as the state and local regulatory bodies across multiple states. This project in Colorado has the potential to be the blueprint for public-private partnerships across the United States to take on the cleanup of orphaned well sites across the nation.

About CarbonPath

CarbonPath is a carbon credit registry focused on industrial carbon and methane solutions. CarbonPath’s methodologies prevent carbon and methane from ever entering the atmosphere by providing a framework that permanently shuts down low-producing, orphaned & abandoned oil wells.

Houston University report analyzing the methodology CarbonPath web app
About Civitas Resources

Civitas is leading Colorado’s oil and gas industry in its commitment to sustainable operations. As the state’s first carbon neutral operator, we believe that caring for our environment, our employees and our communities is critical to our role as an energy producer.


About Greenfield Environmental Solutions

Greenfield Environmental Solutions Group is a leading energy infrastructure decommissioning company offering comprehensive P&A, methane quantification, remediation and land reclamation solutions. Founded in 2022, we enable commercial operators as well as state, local and federal agencies to reduce emissions and meet ESG mandates.


Photos Google Drive folder: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1fJfbTBCa1XGQiIxHZVuosCInbywNlqMS?usp=sharing

CONTACT: Nikki Nichols CarbonPath 9703096646 [email protected] 

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