I-WEST Seminar: Reducing the impacts of undocumented orphaned wells

Picture of Hari Viswanathan

Hari Viswanathan

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Seminar Information:

Date: September 13, 2023

Time: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm MDT

Location: Held via Webex. A no-cost registration is required to attend.

Register here or contact [email protected] for assistance. 

The I-WEST seminar series hosts thought leaders on a spectrum of topics tied to transitioning the Intermountain West to carbon neutrality, including technologies, policy, workforce, and environmental justice. 

Seminar Summary

The energy landscape in the Intermountain West presents many exciting opportunities for sustainable energy pathways in the future. Yet, the region still faces challenges associated with historical energy production. This seminar will focus on orphaned oil and gas wells—legacy pollution sites that jeopardize public health and safety with methane emissions and groundwater contamination. An undocumented orphaned well (UOW) is generally defined as an idle well for which the operator is unknown or insolvent. The estimated number of UOWs reported by states is between 210,000 and 746,000, with many located in Intermountain West states.

Tune in to this seminar to learn about the Consortium Advancing Technology for Assessment of Lost Oil & Gas Wells (CATALOG) program. With funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, scientists at national laboratories in key locations around the country are working together in CATALOG to identify and characterize the environmental risks of UOWs. The goal is to develop best practices that can be used by states to locate UOWs so they can be properly plugged and reclaimed.

This presentation will share the latest results from CATALOG and the innovative technologies that are being applied to reduce the impacts of undocumented orphaned wells.


Hari Viswanathan is a senior scientist in the Energy and Natural Resources Security group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He has expertise in subsurface fractured systems, reservoir modeling and machine learning, and all critical elements for characterizing subsurface systems. Hari leads several energy security projects on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy and is currently serving as the technical lead for the CATALOG program. Hari holds advanced degrees in chemical and environmental engineering, is a GSA Fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellow, and has a publication record of more than 150 peer-reviewed journal publications on subsurface energy applications.

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