Natural gas facilities on farmland near Dawson Creek. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Fund to be set up for ‘orphaned’ B.C. oil and gas wells

Levy to cover costs of decommissioning, capping wells

The B.C. government is changing the way it deals with abandoned oil and gas wells, shifting from a tax on industry to payments into a dedicated reclamation fund for cleanup and restoration of drill sites.

Energy Minister Michelle Mungall introduced changes to the Oil and Gas Activities Act Wednesday to make the change. The amendments also grant the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission new authority to require oil and gas permit holders to perform restoration work on inactive sites.

The commission’s website currently has a list of about 200 orphaned sites, including some not drilled and some listed as having restoration completed.

“We are taking action to deal with the growing number of orphaned well sites by cleaning them up, as well as preventing this from happening in the future,” Mungall said.

The amendments also give the commission authority to block roads in the event of an emergency at an oil or gas site, and to recover the costs of emergency activities from the licence holder.

B.C.’s oil and gas industry is confined mainly to the northeast corner of the province, east of the Rocky Mountains. Gas and gas liquids development has expanded greatly with the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing of shale deposits in the region, leading to proposed investments in large-scale liquefied natural gas exports.

BC legislatureLNG

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bears are back and they’re not social distancing from humans

As you’re out working in your yard, take care of some items that might attract hungry bears

Funding available for South Cariboo charities

Funding is part of the Government of Canada’s $350 million Emergency Support Fund

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend about 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Risk of COVID-19 low in schools, Interior Health states

Medical Health Officer reassures parents as some children and staff head back to class June 1

Most Read