New Mexico official takes aim at oil, gas bond requirements

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s financial assurance requirements for oil and gas wells, pipelines and related infrastructure fall far short of what would be needed to offset closure and cleanup costs.

That’s the finding of an independent study commissioned by the state after concerns were raised last year about taxpayers being left on the hook if companies go bankrupt or abandon their operations without cleaning up.

The study pegged the bonding gap at more than $8 billion.

Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard called the estimate staggering. She says the state needs to take action to ensure companies are adequately bonded.

She’s planning a series of public meetings on the issue.