Canada's Alberta providing another C$400 million for oil and gas site cleanup

Nia Williams
·1 min read

By Nia Williams

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canada's main oil-producing province Alberta said on Friday it will provide another C$400 million in funding to clean up inactive oil and gas wells, part of a program aimed at supporting oilfield services jobs.

The funding is on top of C$400 million Alberta made available for well cleanups last year, and comes from the federal government's COVID-19 economic stimulus spending.

Canada has said it will invest C$1.7 billion to clean up orphan and abandoned wells, helping maintain thousands of jobs. The coronavirus pandemic battered fuel demand and sent oil prices plummeting, pushing many producers and oilfield services companies to the brink of collapse.

There are more than 94,000 inactive wells in Alberta, which have prompted widespread concerns across the political spectrum about environmental impacts and the cleanup cost.

"This money is going to the service sector to create jobs, and at the same time it has the added benefit of site remediation and environmental cleanup," Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage told a news conference.

C$100 million of the funding will go toward cleaning up oil and gas sites in First Nation and Metis communities. The remaining C$300 million will go to oil and gas producers which paid for well closure work in 2019 and 2020.

In total, Alberta expects to generate almost 5,300 jobs through the abandoned well rehabilitation program.

The announcement comes a day after neighboring British Columbia said it would make another C$50 million available for its dormant well cleanup program.

(Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis)