The production of shale oil in the southern states of the United States has turned into an environmental disaster, the consequences of which may require hundreds of billions of dollars, writes the Guardian.
We are talking about the Permian basin — an oil-bearing region located on the territory of the states of Texas and New Mexico. It is considered the center of the US oil industry, and in recent years, shale deposits have been developed there.
Shale oil production is more expensive compared to the classic grades due to the technological complexity of the process. In this regard, the business becomes profitable only at high world prices. In such a situation, many mining companies go bankrupt while keeping prices low for a long time and actually abandon wells in oil-bearing areas.
According to the law, oil workers must preserve unused wells and rigs so that they do not harm the environment. This is necessary because the oil remaining in the wells and associated substances, main methane, can seep into the soil. In fact, many companies do not approach canning responsibly enough.
The publication cites the example of a family of farmers Briggs, who bought a plot of land with a house in Texas a few years ago. However, the same territory was bought by 7S Oil and Gas. American laws allow you to buy the underground part of the site, even if their aboveground part has an owner. A few years later, 7S Oil and Gas went bankrupt, leaving several dozen wells on the site.
According to experts, they were poorly preserved, as a result of which oil and associated substances leaked into the surrounding soil. Elimination of the consequences may require from 68 million to 117 billion dollars.