Windsor·Audio

Ontario has thousands of abandoned gas wells. Here's where they are

An abandoned gas well is likely the source of toxic gas detected ahead of an explosion in Wheatley, Ont., according to Chatham-Kent officials. There are thousands of such wells across the province. Here's where to find them.

Map shows the estimated location of thousands of abandoned wells

Old oil and gas wells are typically decommissioned by capping and pouring cement, says Scott Mundle, one of Canada's foremost experts in identifying gases from abandoned wells. (Ontario GeoHub)

An abandoned gas well is likely the source of the hydrogen sulfide gas that was detected ahead of an explosion in Wheatley, Ont., according to Chatham-Kent officials.

The blast injured 20 people and reduced two buildings in the downtown core to rubble. 

CBC Windsor has learned there are thousands of abandoned natural gas and oil wells across the province. 

You can see them for yourself, using this interactive map. It shows all petroleum wells in Ontario that have been abandoned or have an unknown status, according to the Ontario Petroleum Data System.

On mobile? View the map here.

Old oil and gas wells are typically decommissioned by capping and pouring cement, Scott Mundle, one of Canada's foremost experts in identifying gases from abandoned wells, told CBC Radio's Windsor Morning in June. 

Hydrogen sulphide is present in naturally occurring reservoirs as well as in sewer gas. It is flammable and highly toxic, he said. 

LISTEN | Hear Windsor Morning's host Tony Doucette's interview with Scott Mundle on June 7, 2021:

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