South Dakota trying to plug 40 abandoned gas wells

BUFFALO, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota environmental regulators are trying to figure out how to plug portions of 40 orphaned natural gas wells belonging to a company the state has already fined $15.5 million for abandoning them.

Houston-based Spyglass Cedar Creek drilled the wells in 2006 near Buffalo but the work fell idle as the company's prospects disintegrated amid lawsuits, a lender's bankruptcy, and falling natural gas prices.

The South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment revoked the company's permits in January and state officials estimate it will cost $887,700 to plug the wells. The Rapid City Journal reports Sunday that getting money from the Houston company could prove challenging because Spyglass was unable to post $200,000 earlier this year to keep its permits.

Last month, regulators levied the $15.5 million fine against Spyglass.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)