Want to hear some pretty disturbing news? The Gulf of Mexico has at least 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells, and no one has bothered to check if they are leaking. Some even date back to the 1940s.
These figures come from an investigation by the AP, which also found out that BP alone has abandoned around 600 wells in the Gulf.
The AP investigation uncovered particular concern with 3,500 of the neglected wells — those characterized in federal government records as "temporarily abandoned."
Regulations for temporarily abandoned wells require oil companies to present plans to reuse or permanently plug such wells within a year, but the AP found that the rule is routinely circumvented, and that more than 1,000 wells have lingered in that unfinished condition for more than a decade. About three-quarters of temporarily abandoned wells have been left in that status for more than a year, and many since the 1950s and 1960s — even though sealing procedures for temporary abandonment are not as stringent as those for permanent closures.
Yeah, leaving a bunch of underwater oil wells unchecked with rusty pipes and busted seals for 60 years is no big deal at all. Perhaps this is yet another sign that Armageddon is creeping up.
[Image via AP]