Doing Something about Abandoned Gas Wells

Do you have an oil and gas well operated by Diversified Energy on your property?  If it is not producing, we want to hear from you — and we can maybe help you get it plugged!

The Ohio River Valley Institute (ORVI) recently released a report entitled Diversified Energy: A Business Model Built to Fail Appalachia. Over the last several years, Diversified Energy has become the largest owner of oil and gas wells in the country!  However, Diversified is not, for the most part, in the business of drilling new wells.  It is buying up existing, declining wells and milking them now for all they are worth.  But in the future thousands of their wells will not be producing enough gas to even pay to operate themselves, let alone to save the money to plug them.

Diversified already has a little more than 2000 wells in West Virginia right now that should already have been plugged!  They only plugged 75 of these wells since January last year. Their disclosures to their stockholders (in Great Britain) raise a question whether thousands more that will need plugging will be coming, and whether Diversified will have the money in the future to plug somewhere around 10,000 wells in West Virginia that reach the end of their economic lives.  We think they will become orphaned wells.

If you have a Diversified well on your land, and if it is not producing, please get hold of us.  We would like to help to try to get it plugged while some money is still available, or by some other means, rather than have it left unplugged on you.  Contact us through lawyer and co-founder Dave McMahon whose contact information is at the bottom of this email.

Generally you will know if the well on your land is operated by Diversified because it will have Diversified’s name on it.  If it does not and you still suspect it might be a Diversified well then:

There are two ways we can find out if the Diversified well on your land is producing (and if it is in fact operated by Diversified).  One, you can send us your surface tax ticket or the information on it (we would need the county, district name, map and parcel number from that).  Two, another more certain way to make sure we have the right well is for you to go to the well and get the API number off of the well.  That number will look like  047 – 0_ _  – 0 _ _ _ _.  (Other numbers that don’t look like that can be an old company well number of an equipment part number)   Get us that API number.  Here is a web page about API numbers.  Or that page tells you how you can look up the information yourself on the West Virginia Geologic and Economic Survey website and others.

While you are there at the well listen to hear if it is making a hissing sound in the pipes.  That will mean that it is producing and we may not be able to get it plugged soon, but if you have other questions about it let us know.  (If it is making a hissing sound as gas is escaping out of the pipes into the air, be sure to contact us!)  If there is a no sound it may not be producing and, again, let us know about it – we might be able to do something to get it plugged to stop devaluing your land or before it pollutes your surface land, groundwater, air etc,

Note:  This article suggests the possibility that someone consider litigation to address a problem with an unplugged gas well.  Lawyers are bound by ethical rules concerning suggesting that anyone pursue litigation or soliciting legal business.  To avoid any lawyer ethical problems, or even the appearance of impropriety, this communication should be considered as ADVERTISING MATERIAL.  We also have to note that the lawyer responsible for the content of this message is David McMahon, a co-founder of West Virginia Surface Owners Rights Organization.  His number is 304-415-4288.  His address is 1624 Kenwood Rd, Charleston, WV 25314.  His email is  He is the person to contact about the well on your property.