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Federal government awards contract to continue cleanup of 'legacy' wells in petroleum reserve

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A contractor will begin work this month remediating six "legacy" wells drilled by the federal government decades ago in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

The Bureau of Land Management and the Army Corps of Engineers are overseeing remediation work.

The Corps awarded a $10 million contract to Marsh Creek, LLC to plug Umiat Wells 1, 3 and 11 and to remove wellheads at Umiat Wells 4, 8, and 10.

The Navy and the U.S. Geological Survey drilled more than 130 exploratory wells between 1944 and 1982.

BLM took over management of the petroleum reserve in 1976. The agency says it has plugged 18 wells and remediated four reserve pits at a cost of nearly $86 million since 2002.

Congress in 2013 approved spending $50 million through 2019 on legacy well cleanup.

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