The Virginia Gas and Oil Act defines "Orphaned Well" as "…any well abandoned prior to July 1, 1950, or for which no records exist concerning its drilling, plugging or abandonment." The Act establishes The Orphaned Well Fund for the purpose of plugging and restoration of orphaned wells. Money for the fund comes from permit surcharges, which must accompany each application for a new permit. The Division of Gas and Oil administers the fund and, through a competitive bid process, selects contractors to plug wells and reclaim sites when sufficient funds are available. Orphan well sites are prioritized according to their condition and potential threat to public safety and the environment, and those that represent the greatest risk are given the highest priority for plugging and site restoration.
For additional information about the reclamation of abandoned wells or to report an abandoned gas or oil well, contact the Division of Gas and Oil at (276) 415-9700 or by e-mail.