At an announcement held May 18 near Carstairs, Alberta, the Government of Alberta announced it would be providing a $235-million repayable loan to enable industry to tackle the abandonment and reclamation of orphan wells. It’s estimated this loan would lead to up to 1,650 new jobs in reclamation work over the next three years while reducing the number of wells needing to be reclaimed by the Orphan Well Association (OWA).
“The Orphan Well Association welcomes and appreciates the Government of Alberta’s assistance to accelerate the abandonment and reclamation of orphaned wells in the province,” says Brad Herald, chair of the Orphan Well Association. “Industry has always assumed responsibility for its activities in the province, and the $235-million repayable loan will go a long way to return Albertans to work and accelerate returning orphaned properties to their original state.”
If passed, the provincial loan will be leveraged by a $30-million funding commitment made by the Government of Canada in its 2017 federal budget. The loan will be repaid to the provincial government over a 10-year period through the existing orphan fund levy.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley made the announcement, saying "We’re proud to work with industry to get orphaned wells cleaned up — it’s good for our environment, good for landowners and the jobs created will help make life better for Albertans.”
The OWA is an industry-funded organization with a mandate to manage the abandonment of upstream oil and natural gas orphan wells, pipelines, facilities, and the remediation and reclamation of associated sites. The OWA has collected and spent close to a quarter of a billion dollars since its founding to abandon and reclaim wells left by defunct operators — protecting the public and environment, and contributing to Alberta’s reputation as a globally-leading oil and gas jurisdiction.
Read the Alberta government news release.