Oil Well Discovered at Construction Site for Convenience Store in Okla.

June 9, 2006

Construction crews building a convenience store in south Tulsa, Okla., have discovered an abandoned oil well while digging a hole for gas storage tanks.

The strange discovery was made recently when the crews broke open the casing of an oil well that state Corporation Commission records show had been drilled in 1912 – before oil and gas regulations went into effect.

The well is located about 50 yards from the Arkansas River. About a barrel of oil – 42 gallons – came to the surface when crews hit the well.

“It’s one of those freak things not necessarily of nature,” said David Schrodt, a project manager for Kum & Go, the convenience store chain building on the site. “I’ve traveled all over the United States and I haven’t discovered an oil well yet.”

Corporation Commission director of information Jim Palmer said the hole is about 20 feet in diameter and about 1,100 feet deep. He said the state has an emergency fund to plug old wells but that the company has decided to pay for the cost of doing so to avoid construction delays.

“It won’t take long to plug it,” Palmer said.

Palmer said thousands of such wells, abandoned decades ago, exist in Oklahoma, and that builders occasionally stumble upon them.

Information from: Tulsa World, www.tulsaworld.com.

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