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Six abandoned oil wells in Bottineau County to be confiscated and reclaimed

Six "orphan" oil wells in Bottineau County are being confiscated and reclaimed.

The six wells date back to the late 1960s and early 70s.

The reclamation cost will be about $1.2 million.

"There is one small piece of equipment that has some value," said North Dakota Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms. "The rest is junk."

Helms said the federal grant for oil well reclamation will pay for the effort. He said the funds come from the "Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act."

"We will return pretty close to 20 acres to ag production," Helms said.

Helms said when COVID hit, the wells stopped producing. And before that, they went producing very much.

"Thee or four barrels of oil per day, with a significant volume of water — probably 90 percent," Helms said.

Helms said to show the age of the wells, their case numbers are in the 600s – and recently permitted wells have case numbers in the 40,000 range.

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