Penalties introduced for dormant well decommissioning and restoration violations

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VICTORIA, B.C. – The Provincial Government has introduced legislation that will penalize oil and gas operators for not dealing with dormant well sites in British Columbia.

This introduction of legislation was signed before Premier John Horgan announced, Wednesday, $120 million in Federal funding to clean up orphaned wells in B.C.

Operators could be fined up to $500,000 if the process of restoring decommissioned wells does not take place. Fines vary between $100,000 to $500,000 depending on the type of well and time periods.

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Fines of $50,000 can also be issued to an operator if regulations are violated in regards to annual work plans, annual reports and notices of work plans or intention to start work.

According to the Province, approximately 7,700 wells are sitting dormant meaning they have been inactive for five consecutive years and are unlikely to return to service.

The full ministerial order regarding dormant wells can be found on the Province’s website.

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