April 9, 2019
A coalition of Alberta landowners, researchers and former regulators says it could cost as much as $70 billion to clean up more than 300,000 orphan oil and gas wells in Alberta.
The Alberta Liabilities Disclosure Project released the numbers Monday in Calgary, Alta.
“Fiscally and environmentally, this is a ticking time bomb,” lead researcher Regan Boychuk told Canadian Press. “They sit idle and they may look harmless, but they’re not. All wells leak eventually and that’s why it’s so important they are plugged and reclaimed properly.”
Boychuk said it’s not too late to make well cleanup a campaign issue before the April 16 provincial election.
“This is the moment when politicians are the most receptive,” he said. “The day after the election is when politicians are the least receptive to public concern. That’s why we are making this data public today to try and influence this debate.”
He said most political parties are talking about boosting Alberta’s resource sector but not about the environmental costs involved.
“We can either spend money on drilling more wells or spend money on cleaning up.”