VICTORIA, B.C. – Premier John Horgan and Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, provided an update on how the Province is moving forward with the COVID-19 Pandemic.
According to Horgan, the Provincial state of emergency has been extended for an additional two weeks to ensure the spread of the virus remains low.
In order to create jobs and kick-start the economy, Horgan announced that the Province will be rolling out plans for cleaning up orphaned wells with $120 million in funding from the Federal Government.
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Horgan says the money will help employ 1,200 British Columbians in the Northeast and will allow for 2,000 sites to be cleaned up through new programs.
According to Ralston, the three new programs include the Dormant Sites Reclamation Program, the Orphan Sites Supplemental Reclamation Program, and the Legacy Sites Reclamation Program.
- The Dormant Sites Reclamation Program will provide $100 million to reclaim dormant oil and gas sites, which are wells that have been inactive for five consecutive years and are unlikely to be returned to service. This program will provide up to $100,000, or 50% of total costs, whichever is less.
- The Orphan Sites Supplemental Reclamation Program will provide $15 million to reclaim orphan oil and gas sites where the operator is insolvent, no longer exists or cannot be located. This program will be administrated by the BC Oil and Gas Commission (BCOGC) and will be in addition to $27 million in planned BCOGC clean up of such wells for 2020-21.
- The Legacy Sites Reclamation Program will provide $5 million to address the legacy impacts of historical oil and gas activities that continue to have environmental impacts, such as on wildlife habitat or on the traditional use by Indigenous peoples.
Ralston says these programs will help accelerate the clean up process and restore lands of important environmental and cultural relevance while creating jobs.
“Through these three programs, we are accelerating the cleanup of thousands of orphan and inactive wells. This allows us to restore lands of important environmental and cultural relevance, while also supporting local jobs and local economies in B.C.’s Northeast.”
These programs will be open to oil and gas field service companies and contractors based in B.C., with registration, office and operations in B.C.
Applications for the Dormant Sites Reclamation Program will be accepted beginning May 25.