Dr. Jason Patton, associate professor of geology at Arkansas Tech University, will discuss the environmental impact of abandoned oil and gas wells in the U.S. on Wednesday, April 18, as part of the EARTHtalk! lecture series at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
The talk, “Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells: Infallible Barrier orEnvironmental Disaster?”, will begin at 6 p.m. in the Engineering and Information Technology Building.
Across the U.S., more than one million abandoned oil and gas wells are thought to exist. Many of these wells were drilled before significant regulation of the industry existed and were not properly plugged.
“These wells represent a possible environmental hazard because they can act as a conduit from the deeper subsurface allowing naturally occurring brines and/or injected waste fluids to contaminate shallow groundwater, or they can allow powerful greenhouse gases to escape to the atmosphere,” Patton said.
Patton has more than 20 years of experience working on a wide variety of environmental projects. During his early career, Patton worked as an environmental consultant in the oil and gas industry. Much of his academic career has focused on the effects of sedimentation on water quality, primarily in drinking water sources.
Patton served as the director of the Arkansas Center for Energy, Natural Resources, and Environmental Studies at Arkansas Tech University for seven years and is currently a board member on the Arkansas Board for Registration for Professional Geologists.
He was recently selected as an executive committee member on the National Association of State Boards of Geology, and is the incoming chair for the Department of Physical Sciences at Arkansas Tech, where he has been a faculty member for 10 years.
The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Department of Earth Sciences at 501-569-3546 or visit the EARTHtalk! website.