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‘Orphan’ oil wells warning for fracking

Plans to expand shale gas “fracking” in the UK must learn from leaks and poor monitoring at existing onshore oil and gas sites, scientists say.

A review of 2,152 wells drilled from 1902-2013 found up to 100 “orphaned” wells for which no firm is responsible.

fracking graphic

The use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to recover shale gas has raised fears of earthquakes and contamination of drinking water by chemicals pumped into wells. But scientists say there is another pollution risk – from structural failure of the well casing – and this risk is not particular to shale gas. It is common to all hydrocarbon drilling sites.

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