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ACR Announces Open Public Comment Period on Methodology for Plugging Abandoned and Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells

The American Carbon Registry (ACR), a nonprofit enterprise of Winrock International, announces the public stakeholder consultation period for a Methodology for the Quantification, Monitoring, Reporting and Verification of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Reductions from the Plugging Abandoned & Orphaned Oil and Gas (AOOG) Wells. This first-of-a-kind Methodology — developed by ACR in partnership with Dr. Mary Kang of McGill University and with the support of industry partners — provides the eligibility requirements and accounting framework for the creation of carbon offset credits from the reduction in methane emissions by plugging AOOG wells.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that there are 2.3 to 3.2 million AOOG wells that emit 280,000 metric tons (MT) of methane per year, though few of these wells have been tested for emissions. Since methane is approximately 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period, this equates to almost 8 million MT CO2 equivalent per year. Several studies report that methane emissions from these wells are likely underestimated due to uncertainty in the total population of AOOG wells and associated emissions.

The ACR Methodology provides a framework for the quantification, monitoring, reporting, and verification of GHG gas emission reductions associated with plugging of AOOG wells in the U.S. and Canada by creating an incentive pathway for carbon markets to help finance this activity.

Please send comments to by October 31, 2021, referencing “Plugging AOOG Well Methodology Comments.”

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Winrock has long recognized the threat posed by climate change. ACR, founded in 1996 and operated by Winrock, is dedicated to the belief that markets are the most effective tools to tackle climate change. As such, ACR has developed transparent and science-based methodologies to incentivize carbon reductions in agriculture, transportation and other industries. ACR is also a partner in assuring that California’s landmark Cap-and-Trade Program can manage, verify and credit carbon offsets effectively.