Caylee Jean Hong
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationCalifornia, Berkeley, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10222
Approve DateOctober 7, 2021
Project TitleHong, Caylee (California, Berkeley, U. of) "Orphaned Wells: The Impact of Corporate Bankruptcy on Oil and Gas Infrastructures and Municipal Futures in California"
Mass bankruptcies of energy companies have ‘orphaned’ thousands of oil and gas wells across the United States in recent years. In 2021, these bankruptcies are expected to increase dramatically. Without solvent owners to plug and decommission them, such wells will add to the already-sprawling subterranean network of abandoned infrastructures. Oil and gas wells in cities are especially prone to abandonment, exposing residents to toxins, redevelopment challenges, political and social conflicts, and exorbitant cleanup liabilities. This dissertation project investigates the impacts of corporate insolvencies on oil and gas-producing cities. Over twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork in Long Beach and Los Angeles, California, I will accompany diverse urban stakeholders such as frontline community groups, environmental justice organizations, city officials, and industry representatives as they navigate corporate bankruptcies, oil and gas extraction, and the environmental and financial futures of their cities.