Alberta sees huge spike in abandoned oil and gas wells
It’s no secret that Alberta’s junior energy sector is struggling. Falling energy prices and tighter rules around the viability of oil and gas wells have meant many companies are abandoning their operations and turning their wells over to the province to be reclaimed.
In the past year, the number of so-called orphan wells has more than quadrupled from 162 to 702. At the current rate of reclamation, it will take 20 years to dismantle just this year’s supply.
Orphan wells are not new to Alberta. They dot the landscape in the central and southern part of the province. Since 1994, the Alberta Energy Regulator has run a program to take over abandoned wells, pipelines and other facilities and reclaim them.