Spring 2017 - Bill 14: An Act to Support Orphan Well Rehabilitation

Over half a million wells have been drilled in Alberta since drilling activities began.

While over half are still active, there are a huge number of abandoned wells that require reclamation and remediation - approximately 87,000.

The Orphan Well Association, an industry-funded group that takes responsibility for wells and facilities where the original owner is not capable of paying for the required closure processes, has roughly 2,000 of those on its books.

In addition to that, there are more than 1700 pipeline segments that need attention.

This is a problem that has been allowed to grow at the expense of everyday Albertans, municipalities and the environment.

This bill, and the associated Liability Management Review, will take significant steps toward cleaning up the existing orphaned wells and ensuring that the problem is better managed in the future.


Key Points

We know that Albertans are concerned about the growing problem of orphaned and aging oil and gas wells. Many landowners, municipalities and other stakeholder groups are directly impacted by this and they deserve a government that has their backs.
That’s why we’re leveraging the $30 million federal assistance into a significant loan – so the Orphan Well Association can address the significant backlog of facilities needing attention, while maintaining the ‘polluter pays’ principle.
The Act to Support Orphan Well Rehabilitation and the accompanying loan will allow extra work to happen right away on these sites, creating up to 1,650 good jobs at a time when we need them, while also protecting the environment.
The recently announced Liability Management Review will engage experts, stakeholders and Indigenous communities to examine how we can better manage this issue now and in the future, and ways we can further protect Albertans, the environment, and keep Alberta competitive in attracting investments.

Press releases

Review of old wells to protect Albertans, environment

Cleanup boost for old oil and gas sites to create jobs

Links & Resources

Orphan Well Association