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 New Mexico’s Oil Conservation Division responds to an environmental complaint and takes immediate action.

Earthworks conducted a survey at an Acacia Operating oil well site on Nov 28, 2023. What we found was concerning. Not only did we observe an oil spill at the site, equipment was missing near the casing-head resulting in a constant stream of methane emissions. We used a gas detector to record methane emitting at over 800k ppm. We also observed these emissions using an optimal gas imaging camera. 

Earthworks contacted the Oil Conservation Division expressing our concerns along with footage and images we collected of the site. They responded by sending an inspector the following day which resulted in shutting the facility down. They also informed us that there is an open investigation into the site. 

Low producing well sites like this one lack oversight and are often forgotten, but still pose significant environmental risks. While this type of enforcement isn’t something we typically see in New Mexico, it is the type of enforcement we welcome.  

We appreciate New Mexico’s Oil Conservation Division for responding so quickly to a situation that could have been much worse and look forward to more robust enforcement and investigation efforts going forward.