Canada’s natural gas industry is committed to minimizing its footprint and is required, by regulations, to reclaim all land affected by operations and maintain biodiversity. Emerging production technologies allow wells to be drilled more efficiently with less impact on the land than in the past. Advances in horizontal drilling and the use of multi-well drilling pads have greatly reduced the area of land disturbed in drilling operations.
When a well is no longer producing, the surface is reclaimed as required by regulation. Depending on the location, it can take five years or more to complete the reclamation of the land. The process includes plugging and capping the well, removing equipment, cleaning up any residual chemicals, replacing topsoil and re-planting the site with native vegetation. A government reclamation certificate or other approval is issued when the work meets the regulated requirements.