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Abandoned well clean-up could pay dividends for southern Alberta: MLA Hunter

Posted on March 1, 2023 by Taber Times

By Trevor Busch

Taber Times

editor@tabertimes.com

With oil and gas companies in Alberta posting record profits showing 2022 as their best year ever, Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter doesn’t expect that to translate into much renewed investment for the riding’s industry.

“It’s a pretty old field here. So you have more for oil sands up north.”

Where he does see potential for investment is through the province’s plan to incentivize clean up of abandoned wells and infrastructure through the Liability Management Incentive Program.

“I think where we’re seeing the growth down here is going to be, they’re doing a pilot project with the Liability Management Incentive Programme. And that could open up our field down here, because what it’s doing is a pilot project.”

The Liability Management Incentive Program would provide up to $100 million in credits over three years to companies that clean up sites that have been inactive for at least 20 years.

“I’m not sure whether or not it will be piloted down here,” said Hunter. “But in the future, it could actually make things more viable to start doing more exploration down here. And so we can see something more down here because of that.”

Critics have savaged the program, arguing it is largely rewarding oil and gas companies that were legally required to fund the clean up of these properties, but ignored or failed in their obligations.

“I know that I’ve heard some people saying, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t be, it’s a bailout’. It’s not, it’s actually addressing the liability management that we’ve been dealing with. This is kind of difficult for small, small companies, small oil producers. And so this is kind of… able to address their concerns or their issues about that liability.”

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