The Railroad Commission of Texas, the state’s oil and gas regulator, has paid $4.3 million to plug more than 350 abandoned oil and gas wells in 2017, according to the results of a quarterly report given to the commissions on Tuesday.
The average cost of plugging those wells was $12,000.
The commission uses a mixture of industry fees and government grants to plug thousands of wells abandoned by their operators. Texas currently has a backlog of more than 9,000 abandoned wells, which the commission plans to tackle in chunks of a several hundred per year.
For 2017, the commission has set aside $14.4 million to plug wells 1,050 wells, 45 of which are in Houston. The largest numbers of unplugged wells are near San Antonio and Wichita Falls, according to the commission.