Denver-based Civitas Resources Inc. has announced its commitment to voluntarily plug 42 wells that were orphaned by previous operators located in and around its operating areas in Adams, Arapahoe, Elbert, Larimer and Weld counties of Colorado.

“Orphaned” wells are wells unrelated to Civitas that were abandoned by their former operators and whose cleanup would otherwise be the responsibility of the state of Colorado, Civitas said on Jan. 19.

Project Canary, a Denver-based climate technology company, will join Civitas as the emissions monitoring partner for this endeavor.

“Civitas is committed to producing energy in the most responsible manner and will always strive to be part of the solution for challenges faced by our communities,” said Civitas Chairman Ben Dell. “Today’s announcement further demonstrates our culture of responsibility and accountability to our neighbors. Stepping up to plug orphaned wells is the right thing for our industry to do,” he said.

Orphaned wells are often of older vintage and, at times, left in poor condition. When wells are left unplugged, they can emit greenhouse gases such as methane and CO2, which amplify the effects of climate change. According to the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, Colorado has approximately 410 total orphaned wells.

Plugging abandoned wells is one of many important ways to accelerate Colorado’s commitment to reducing statewide greenhouse gas pollution, relative to 2005 levels, by 26% by 2025, 50% by 2030, and 90% by 2050.

“We are proud to eliminate these wells for the benefit of the communities where we live and work,” said Brian Cain, Civitas Chief Sustainability Officer. “As Colorado’s first carbon neutral oil and gas producer, this commitment, in partnership with Project Canary, aligns with our goal of reducing emissions that cause climate change throughout our state and advances climate leadership within our peer group and industry,” he said. “As we make this commitment, we call on our industry peers to similarly step up and help us tackle this statewide issue together.”

Project Canary is committed to providing continuous monitoring and TrustWell engineering services for all 42 wells, which is an expected value of $250,000. Project Canary will install methane monitoring devices before the commencement of P&A activities to establish the emission profile of wells. Once P&A activities are completed, the Project Canary monitoring devices will remain on-site to ensure no residual fugitive emissions from locations.

said Project Canary CEO and Co-Founder Chris Romer commented, “Helping Civitas and the state of Colorado clean up these legacy, abandoned wells is something our team is excited to participate in. Civitas has demonstrated their ESG leadership in this new era of energy development, and we’re proud to further our partnership with them.”