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Trudeau announces $1.72 billion for orphan wells

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 @ 11:23 AM | By Peter Carter

Describing Canada’s energy sector as being “disproportionately affected by COVID-19” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an aid package worth approximately $1.72 billion for the oil patch’s orphan well problem.

Orphan oil and gas wells arise when the developers cannot be located or do not have the financial means to pay for proper decommissioning and site remediation. 

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, there are currently about 4,700 orphan wells in Alberta, 600 in Saskatchewan, and 350 in B.C. “In light of this,” the statement says, “and the challenging economic circumstances facing the sector and the regional economies dependent on it, the government of Canada will provide funding to sustain jobs in the energy sector while cleaning up the environment.”

In February, The Lawyer’s Daily reported that the total cost of solving the orphan well program was over $70 billion.

The orphan well project was part of a comprehensive COVID-19-related bailout package announced April 17.