The Stripper Well Consortium (SWC), which has transferred technology developed for major energy companies to small, independent oil and gas operators for nine years, was extended to 2015 by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

An industry-driven consortium initiated in 2000, SWC strives to keep maximize hydrocarbon recovery from stripper wells in an environmentally safe manner.

Domestic stripper wells produce less than 10 b/d of oil or 60,000 Mcf/d of gas. However, more than 322,000 stripper gas wells now account for more than 1.7 Tcf of annual production, or 9% of the gas produced in the Lower 48. More than 396,000 stripper oil wells also account for nearly 800,000 b/d, or about 10% of Lower 48 production.

Once a well is plugged and abandoned, the reserves left behind are “lost forever” because it typically is uneconomic to drill another well to recover these abandoned reserves, DOE noted.

“Every dollar of stripper oil and natural gas production creates roughly $1 of economic activity and nearly 10 jobs result from every million dollars of stripper well oil and natural gas produced,” the federal agency stated.

Since the consortium was launched, more than 100 projects have been developed for smaller operators including:

The SWC is managed and administered by Pennsylvania State University on behalf of DOE. The Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provide base funding and technical guidance to the program.

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