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Railroad Commission Plugs Three Abandoned Wells Near Forest Cove Townhomes

This week, the Railroad Commission of Texas finished plugging three abandoned oil wells in the Forest Cove townhome complex near Marina and Timberline Drives. The Commission cited the owner for leaks in the past. However, the owner, Noxxe Oil & Gas, went bankrupt in 2020. That put the responsibility for remediation on the Railroad Commission. The Commission began plugging earlier this month and finished in this location on Wednesday afternoon. See photos below.

About Plugging

The National Petroleum Council says that a well is plugged by setting mechanical or cement plugs in the wellbore at specific intervals to prevent fluid flow. The plugging process usually requires a workover rig and cement pumped into the wellbore. The plugging process can take two days to a week, depending on the number of plugs to be set in the well.

Oil and gas can not only seep up through the well’s pipe, but also through the annulus. The annulus is the area between the outside of the pipe and the surrounding earth. Therefore, plugging often involves perforating pipe and forcing cement into the annulus, too.

First of three wells being plugged. Photographed on Sunday May 9, 2021. The larger townhome complex in the background was torn down on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.
Pump jack from second well ready to haul away. Photographed on May 26, 2021. Note West Fork bridge in background.
Railroad Commission contractors plugging third of three wells near townhomes on Wednesday, 5/26/2021 at 8am.

Pumpjacks like the one above represent a form of “artificial lift. They give nature a hand when pressure in the well cannot bring oil and gas to the surface by itself in produceable quantities.

Photo taken at noon on May 26, 2021. Contractors packing up. Note location of previously demolished townhomes to left of rig and top center. Water in foreground is the San Jacinto West Fork.

Plans For Rest of Wells Remain Unclear

The Railroad Commission has not returned multiple calls or emails regarding its plans for other Noxxe wells near the Forest Cove little league fields. Earlier this year, the Commission said that someone might buy those wells and try to produce oil from them, using the tanks already on the property.

Approximately 10 wells remain on the portion of the old Noxxe lease between the Forest Cove Little League fields and the San Jacinto West Fork at the top of the frame. Photo taken on 5/26/21 around noon.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/28/2021

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