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Local knowledge powers dormant well sites cleanup

Local knowledge powers dormant well sites cleanup

July 8, 2021 at 8:43 am  BC, News, Politics

The Province is awarding the second $50-million instalment provided by the federal government to projects that will clean up dormant oil and gas sites.

“By working collaboratively with Indigenous Nations and seeking community input, the second round of the Dormant Sites Reclamation Program (DSRP) leverages local knowledge to restore oil and gas sites of concern,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “This funding will benefit the environment, while providing thousands of good-paying jobs for British Columbians.”

Funding for the second round of the DSRP prioritized applications from field service companies that have contracts to work on sites nominated by Indigenous people, local governments and landowners.

“Cleaning up dormant well sites keeps workers on the job in British Columbia,” said Seamus O’Regan Jr., federal Minister of Natural Resources. “We’re protecting the environment and supporting the hard-working men and women in our oil and gas sector – including in First Nations communities.”

Fifty-three B.C.-based oil and gas field service companies are being awarded funding to do work on nominated sites. The online nomination portal received 1,853 nominations for 1,464 dormant well sites. The second round of the DSRP will support work on 716 of these well sites, of which 659 were nominated by Indigenous people. Eleven Indigenous-owned oil and gas contractors will carry out site restoration work.

“The Halfway River Group, a collection of Halfway River First Nation businesses, would like to acknowledge that the processes implemented during the second round of funding for the Dormant Sites Reclamation Program has opened the door for our participation, incentivizing our inclusion, in a manner that was not available to us in the first round of funding,” said Brad Bonner, president and CEO of the Halfway River Group. “These opportunities cultivate an optimism and spirit that makes a visible and tangible difference within Indigenous communities.”

Support for the DSRP comes from $120 million in federal funding provided with the goal of promoting job opportunities for oil and gas service workers, many of whom are facing the dual challenges of slowing natural gas investment and a global pandemic. The program provides successful applicants with up to $100,000 for work on dormant oil and gas well sites.

“Oakridge Environmental Engineering Inc. is pleased to be involved in the British Columbia Dormant Sites Reclamation Program,” said Larry Neufeld, principal engineer at Oakridge Environmental Engineering. “The program provides important funding for reclamation of sites no longer in use by utilizing British Columbia workers and British Columbia companies.”

There are currently 9,055 dormant well sites in B.C. The decommissioning and restoration of oil and gas sites in B.C. is regulated by the BC Oil and Gas Commission. In 2019, the commission developed its Comprehensive Liability Management Plan that ensures industry pays for the costs of cleaning up dormant oil and gas sites in the future.

Quick Facts:

  • Field contractors receiving DSRP funds must be based in British Columbia, with registration, office and operations in the province.
  • The DSRP’s first increment of $50 million enabled 79 B.C.-based service companies to perform reclamation activities on nearly 1,900 dormant wells.
  • The Legacy Sites Reclamation Program provided $5 million to restore lands affected by historical oil and gas activities, which can have an impact on wildlife.
  • The Orphan Sites Supplemental Reclamation Program, managed by the Oil and Gas Commission, has completed more than 90% of planned work, funded by $15 million from the federal government, with work completed on 81 of 88 nominated sites.

Learn More:

Read more about the Dormant Sites Reclamation Program here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/natural-gas-oil/responsible-oil-gas-development/dormant-sites-reclamation-program

Learn about the Legacy Sites Restoration Program: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/natural-gas-oil/responsible-oil-gas-development/petroleum-and-natural-gas-restoration

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