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Well cleanup plan to generate jobs in Alberta

Premier Jason Kenney and Energy Minister Sonya Savage speaking at the Canadian Energy Centre at SAIT in Calgary on Dec. 11, 2019 (PHOTO: Tom Ross, 660 NEWS)

The government of Alberta took its first step in reclaiming 1,000 of the province’s orphaned wells.

Premier Jason Kenney announced Alberta would extend a loan worth up to $100-million to the Orphan Well Association (OWA).

Part of ‘A Blueprint for Jobs‘, Kenney said the loan will help the OWA’s reclamation efforts, generating up to 500 direct and indirect jobs in the oil and gas industry.

“This taxpayer investment will create good-paying jobs while improving the environment. Actions like this will help to get Alberta back to work.”

‘A Blueprint for Jobs’ was a major section of the Throne Speech and the Feb. 27 Alberta Budget.

OWA previously received a $235-million interest-free loan from the province, which they started paying off in 2019 thanks to contributions from industry through the annual Orphan Fund Levy.


Sonya Savage, Alberta’s Energy Minister spoke about the importance of job creation while upholding the province’s reputation as a responsible resource developer.

“This loan will increase economic activity across our province and is an important step in addressing the pressing issue of oil and gas liabilities – particularly in rural Alberta.”

OWA Executive Director Lars De Pauw added staying on top of inventory ensures sustainability in the energy industry.

“The Orphan Well Association continues to increase our efficiencies while also increasing the number of sites we are addressing.”

De Pauw said the loan would also help Alberta’s service sector and reduce the impact of orphaned wells on landowners.

OWA plans to decommission and then begin environment site assessments for Alberta’s 1,000 wells for reclamation.

The non-profit organization and the province agreed the investment would be complete before April 1, 2021.

OWA received its mandate from the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER).

More information on orphan wells and reclamation is available on the Orphan Well Association website.