Laid-off oil and gas workers could be put to work plugging orphaned wells, report shows

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As many as 125,000 oil-and-gas industry workers could be employed plugging abandoned wells currently leaking greenhouse gas pollution, a new report says.

The report, published by Resources for the Future and the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, comes as oil and gas bankruptcies accelerate, with the sector having laid-off more than 76,000 workers already this year. There are currently as many as 3 million “orphaned” oil and gas wells, which leak ultra-heat-trapping methane and other pollutants, in the U.S. Plugging the known inventory of about 57,000 abandoned wells, and identifying and plugging roughly 443,000 more, would likely cost around $26 billion, according to the report.

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