Oil and gas reclamation
Maintaining sustainability and a natural habitat may not be the first things that come to mind when you think of the oil and gas industry. But, construction companies and oil and gas companies regularly work together to ensure that land and wildlife are not casualties of oil and gas production. Experienced groups will create a plan to ensure the land is left the way it was found - if not better.
Reclamation is not as simple as it sounds, and can be just as complex as the ecosystems it aims to restore. We break it down into three phases: pre-construction, construction and operation, and post-construction.
Planning ahead is not only what’s best for oil and gas companies and the land, but it is also required by the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) as well as commissions in many surrounding states. A reclamation plan is part of a Surface Use Plan of Operation which is submitted to the COGCC for approval before any rigs can be set up.
A reclamation plan will outline the findings of surveyors and engineers to determine what the ecology of the site is prior to any construction. This could include the types of native grasses and soils, and what ecosystems are supported in the area. This step also ensures that the wildlife population has a sustainable future in the area.
During the construction of the site, making a conscious effort to minimally disturb the land and surrounding wildlife will mean less labor during the reclamation process, and overall more efficient execution of the reclamation plan.
Typically, the standard practice is to begin reclamation when an oil or gas pad is abandoned and equipment is removed. However, the best practice is to work as you go. By reclaiming land and ecosystems alongside construction and drilling, we can reduce costs and increase the effectiveness of final reclamation.
Complete reclamation of well sites, access roads and the surrounding area begins after the well site is abandoned and the well is plugged. The process may include using heavy equipment to re-contour the topsoil for erosion control and preparing the ground for re-seeding. Excavators will rip out compacted roads, and culverts will be removed to allow the original drainage systems to be restored.
We consider the reclamation process a success when the site has established a self-sustaining, diverse, native plant community that will control erosion and non-native plant invasion, and support wildlife habitat or forage production. Achieving this step in the process can take years, and assessments throughout the process may result in follow-up work. After a final inspection that ensures the reclamation plan was followed, the project is complete.
The restoration of land that gives bountiful resources both above and below ground is one of the most important pieces of oil and gas production. High Plains Construction Services understands the weight of this responsibility and has the knowledge, skills and experience to help reclaim the land that continues to give so much. We bring together every group involved in pre-construction, construction and final reclamation to preserve the land for generations to come.