Bloomberg Law
Sept. 2, 2021, 10:01 AM

Bankruptcies Fueling Environmental Crisis at Abandoned Oil Wells

Alex Wolf
Alex Wolf

A tide of failing energy companies has government regulators racing to address the nation’s stockpile of abandoned, methane-leaking oil wells as environmental liabilities come to a head in oil and gas bankruptcy proceedings.

More than 260 domestic oil producers filed Chapter 11 over a six-year period marked by depressed commodity prices and the global economic shock caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many distressed fossil fuel companies are passing environmental obligations on to government bodies amid the worst crude crash in history. Some of those companies use bankruptcy to shift multimillion or even multibillion-dollar decommissioning burdens to predecessors and joint interest ...

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