AltaGas is taking another shot at improving the seal on a 70-year-old abandoned oil well in St. Paul.
The well in question was dug back in 1947 in what was at the time the middle of a farmer’s field. It never produced any oil and was capped off in 1948 and fully abandoned in 1955. In the early 70s, the land was turned into a residential subdivision, but the old well remains underneath 49th Avenue between 43rd and 44th Street .
The well was largely forgotten until 2012, when new regulations came in requiring oil companies to test abandoned wells in urban centres. It took some time to pinpoint where exactly the old well was and it was finally rediscovered in 2015. After some testing it was found that the well had a small methane leak. While the company and town say the leak isn’t enough to be a danger to the public, AltaGas is trying to better seal off the well in a process called re-abandonment.
The first attempt at this was in July of last year and was unsuccessful, so the company is coming up with a two-phase plan to deal with the issue. The first phase will bring a service rig on to the site, with the road fenced off and closed to traffic. This is expected to last for 18 days between July 29th and August 15th. The second phase will have the rig and fence taken down and see regular access to the street resumed. This should last ten days from August 16th to 26th.
Work is not expected to exceed 12 hours per day during daylight hours (8 a.m. – 8 p.m.)