​Alberta conducting orphan well review

Image: Joey Podlubny/JWN

The Government of Alberta says it will conduct roundtable sessions this year to build a framework for better management of orphan wells and aging oil and gas infrastructure in the province.

At issue: the historic, current and future liabilities associated with “the full life cycle of upstream oil and gas development.”

Alberta has an estimated 180,000 active wells, 83,000 inactive wells and 69,000 abandoned wells.

As of March 2017, the Orphan Well Association (OWA) had an inventory of 2,084 orphaned wells to go through closure activities (1,394 to be abandoned, 690 to be reclaimed).

The province is using a one-time payment of $30 million from the federal government’s 2017 budget to “focus on reclaiming orphan wells and getting oilfield workers back to work.”

Alberta says that representatives from industry, landowners, environmental groups, municipalities and Indigenous communities will participate in the review, which will “focus on further protecting Albertans and the environment while keeping Alberta a competitive place to invest.”

The review is expected to be complete by the end of 2017.

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