Clear path forward to reclaim well sites

Re: 'Rick Koechl & Mike Kroecher: The slow slog of reclaiming B.C.'s orphan wells', Alaska Highway News, Dec. 4, 2019

In what is a rapidly changing environment, British Columbia has taken numerous steps to address the issue of dormant and orphan oil and gas sites.

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Introduced in May 2019, the BC Oil and Gas Commission’s Comprehensive Liability Management Plan makes sure 100 per cent of the cost of reclaiming oil and gas sites in B.C. continues to be paid for by industry, ensuring no direct cost to B.C. residents.

The province has put in place new legislation and the BC Oil and Gas Commission has put in place the Dormancy Regulation which makes B.C. the first province in western Canada to impose in law timelines for the restoration of oil and gas wells. The plan also enhances stringent checks of each company’s financial health and history with the continued goal to mitigate liability risk and minimize the number of orphan sites in our province.

Once a well is “orphaned”, the Commission takes on the tasks of ensuring the sites pose no risk to the public or the environment and that they are fully reclaimed. While orphan wells make up just over one per cent of all oil and gas wells in B.C., the goal is to clean up and restore all orphan wells in B.C. within 10 years of receiving an orphan designation.

British Columbia has a clear path forward to continue to hold industry accountable, protect public safety and safeguard the environment. As noted, there is a lot changing on this file and I would invite you to read more about the Plan by visiting “Dormant Sites” at bcogc.ca.

— Paul Jeakins, Commissioner and CEO, BC Oil and Gas Commission

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