In the US, there are many oil wells that are no longer in operation and where the owners have gone bankrupt or for other reasons no longer take responsibility for what happens to it. This can cause methane to leak out. Something that, in addition to contributing to the warming of the planet, can also start fires.
To address that problem, the US government has decided to invest $560 million to secure 10,000 abandoned oil wells in 24 states.
These are the 10,000 sources that the authorities have assessed as posing the greatest risk. But it's still only the beginning. The U.S. Department of the Interior, which is responsible for the project, counts that there are, in total, 129,000 abandoned oil wells in the United States.
The $560 million that is now being invested is only part of the total of $1.15 billion that has been earmarked for "plugging" oil wells. So tens of thousands more abandoned oil wells will be secured in the next few years. Many will remain, but at least the very greatest sources of risk will become safe in the next few years.