Edmonton, AB – Orphan wells present major economic and environmental challenges for Western Canada, says Official Opposition Critic for Western Diversification Matt Jeneroux. However, if managed correctly, decreasing the number of orphan wells could generate tremendous economic opportunities in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
There are approximately 75,000 orphan wells in Alberta alone. As a result of slumping oil prices, these wells are no longer operated by companies and the workers are left unemployed.
“If the Liberal Government continues to support policies that restrict Canada’s ability to get our natural resources to market, the number of orphan wells across Canada will increase,” says Jeneroux. “There has never been a more urgent time to find a creative solution that will turn this environmental problem into an economic opportunity.”
Provincial governments have long recognized orphan wells as a serious problem and made efforts to stem any negative environmental effects resulting from them. The Government of Alberta invested $30 million in the Orphan Well Association in order to dismantle and clean up these orphan wells. However, experts say it would cost approximately $8.4 billion to dismantle every single orphan well in Alberta alone.
“I have spent the last few months listening to stakeholders and it’s clear that there is a possible solution that will create jobs and protect our environment,” said Jeneroux. “The current plan isn’t working and the Liberals must find a way to solve this issue without spending taxpayer money. Most importantly, doing nothing will only allow a very serious environmental problem to persist.”