Wyoming pulls permits for abandoned experimental gas wells

By Mead Gruver, Associated Press

Wyoming officials have revoked state permits for hundreds of abandoned coal-bed methane wells that were part of an experiment to use microbes to keep gas flowing indefinitely.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming officials have revoked state permits for hundreds of abandoned coal-bed methane wells that were part of an experiment to use microbes to keep gas flowing indefinitely.

The wells no longer are producing and are on a long list of wells the state plans to plug and clean up over several years.

The 413 wells in Campbell County used to belong to Luca Technologies. Luca subsidiary Patriot Energy had permits to put nutrients into the wells to stimulate naturally occurring microbes that feed on coal and produce gas.

The technique failed to reverse a bust in the coal-bed methane industry. The most recent owner of the wells is out of business.

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality officials say they haven't received any water-quality updates required by the permits since 2013.

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