Indigenous voices to have say in orphan wells program

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 6:05pm


The Indigenous community will be part of the province’s work in determining what course of action should be taken for managing old oil and gas facilities.

Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd announced today that subject matter experts and key stakeholders will take part in roundtable discussions on improving the management of historic, current and future liabilities associated with the full life cycle of upstream oil and gas development.

“Many landowners are directly affected by this, and it’s a problem that has been ignored for far too long. It’s important we take action and find the best way to improve the system and ensure these sites are managed responsibly,” said McCuaig-Boyd.

The review will focus on further protecting Albertans and the environment while keeping Alberta a competitive place to invest.

Diverse perspectives will be at the table to help inform policy discussions, including representation from industry, landowners, environmental groups, municipalities and Indigenous communities.

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

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 had an inventory of 2,084 orphaned wells to go through closure activities (1,394 to be abandoned, 690 to be reclaimed).

The OWA closed 185 wells last year.