Abandoned and orphan wells are some of the most pressing economic, environmental and social issues facing Alberta today and into the future. The blame is shared by government, regulators and industry players.
In fact, it is arguable Alberta citizens, as resource owners and even as voters are culpable too by not being more aware, better informed and assertively active in demanding and pressing for change on all of this.
I strongly believe this is one of the primary areas where Reboot Alberta could take on as a core focus to press for solutions
There is an effort requesting some $2.4 billion from the Government of Canada to Alberta from an amend the Federal Stabilization scheme to the Alberta economic downturn. Media reports have noted “Premier” Kenney wants to commit some of these funds, if they were received, into dealing with the abandoned and orphan wells restoration, rehabilitation and reclamation.
The abject reality behind this travesty is the failure, refusal, and neglect of past and current governments, regulators, and energy industry, individually and collectively, to deal with the environmental duty of care, the contractual economic obligations, and social benefit of Albertans, as the owners of these resources.
This is a “disaster in progress” and promises to get worse. The worst-case means Alberta taxpayers, mostly future generations, will bear the burden to mitigate the consequences of poor governance, lax regulations and industry evasion of responsibility.
Is it appropriate to let the culpable industry players “off the hook” by applying any potential federal stabilization funds to abandoned and orphan well obligations? I think there is a better use of those funds.
To be fair there is a fair amount fo abandoned well work being done now by responsible and sustainable energy operators. that should be acknowledged but it is nothing to applaud, it’s to be expected.
What are the thoughts of other Rebooters on this issue and how to resolve it?