This is from last year, but is fairly relevant with today's oil prices:
This is a little older, but the timing suggested is very relevant:
From the Forbes link in 2015:
The Great Crew Change used to be a phenomenon that everyone in the oil and gas industry could easily describe. When it was referenced, people knew it referred to the large age gap in the oil & gas workforce, where most engineers and geoscientists were either over 55 or under 35. Seems simple enough, right?
If you peel back the onion a bit, you’ll see the implications of the great crew change. The older crew, comprised of nearly 50% of the industry’s employee base, would be retiring in the next 5 to 7 years. Imagine what losing that invaluable experience would do to any industry? Real world experience that can’t be taught in school or by reading a book or studying a report. The skin-in-the-game type of struggle that requires engineers and geoscientists to take into account all the variables, risk, investment, and geologic factors that E&P companies face every day."
This was a concern before the current economic conditions. My bet is that a lot of people who are older and affected by layoffs and bankruptcies won't come back to the industry.
Been watching this dialogue and figured I may as well kick in my two cents (or $3 in 1970 currency) to the topic! LOL
Orphan wells are only part of the issue here - yes, they need to be effectively plugged to keep the subsurface uncompromised, but who is responsible for the train wreck surface conditions surrounding many if not most of these orphan wells?
Assuming someone takes on an orphan well, their obligation is to just plug that well, correct? Not remediate the surface location and restore it to its pre-drill state, correct?
If you have ever spent any time around these old depleted fields, you can see that no one will be able to do anything on the surface until the contaminated soil surface layer (down to ??? Feet) is stripped off and replaced. And then re-seeded.
Orphan well bore are only a small part of this problem - and I don't see any comments from the State agencies about getting these historical surface locations cleaned up.