"U.S. Says Idle Gulf Wells Must Be Plugged"

"The Interior Department said Wednesday that oil and gas companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico need to do more to permanently plug nearly 3,000 inactive wells and dismantle about 650 production platforms that are no longer in use.

The new initiative is aimed at cleaning up what the industry calls "idle iron" - inactive wells and platforms that litter the gulf, pose hazards to shipping and run some of the greatest risks of leaks and accidents during storms.

Although the Interior Department has regulations requiring that old wells be permanently plugged with subsea safety seals and old platforms dismantled, the regulations are rarely enforced, industry sources said."

Steven Mufson reports for the Washington Post September 16, 2010.

Source: Wash Post, 09/16/2010