Natural gas facilities on farmland near Dawson Creek. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Fund to be set up for ‘orphaned’ B.C. oil and gas wells

Levy to cover costs of decommissioning, capping wells

The B.C. government is changing the way it deals with abandoned oil and gas wells, shifting from a tax on industry to payments into a dedicated reclamation fund for cleanup and restoration of drill sites.

Energy Minister Michelle Mungall introduced changes to the Oil and Gas Activities Act Wednesday to make the change. The amendments also grant the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission new authority to require oil and gas permit holders to perform restoration work on inactive sites.

The commission’s website currently has a list of about 200 orphaned sites, including some not drilled and some listed as having restoration completed.

“We are taking action to deal with the growing number of orphaned well sites by cleaning them up, as well as preventing this from happening in the future,” Mungall said.

The amendments also give the commission authority to block roads in the event of an emergency at an oil or gas site, and to recover the costs of emergency activities from the licence holder.

B.C.’s oil and gas industry is confined mainly to the northeast corner of the province, east of the Rocky Mountains. Gas and gas liquids development has expanded greatly with the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing of shale deposits in the region, leading to proposed investments in large-scale liquefied natural gas exports.

Just Posted

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nation drafts first phase of passive housing project

The housing project will have 96 residential units for low-income families.

North Island Seniors Housing Foundation requests land from Port Hardy Council

“The foundation members will be coming to council with more information at a future date.”

Mayoral candidate David Stewart steps away from Port Alice election

Port Alice has unlikely chance of holding a by-election early next year.

‘Cell Phone Service on the Island Highway’ campaign calls for better coverage along Island Highway

“There’s a possibility of various accidents, especially during the winter.”

VIDEO: Rescued eagle released in Ucluelet

“I’m very confident that he’s going to make it. He’s done very well.”

Private marijuana stores should shut down, Mike Farnworth says

B.C. has approved 62 licences, but they still need local approval

HPV vaccine does not lead to riskier sex among teen girls: UBC

Girls are less likely to have sex now than they were a decade ago

VIDEO: Rescued eagle released in Ucluelet

“I’m very confident that he’s going to make it. He’s done very well.”

Koreas agree to break ground on inter-Korean railroad

The rival Koreas are holding high-level talks Monday to discuss further engagement amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Flash floods kill at least 7 people in southwest France

Flash floods have left several people dead in southwest France, with roads swept away and streams become raging torrents as the equivalent of several months of rain fell overnight, authorities said Monday.

Trump to visit Florida, Georgia; search ongoing for missing

The death toll from Michael’s destructive march from Florida to Virginia stood at 17.

Canadians widely unaware of accomplishments of famous women, poll suggests

A new poll suggests Canadians have a lot to learn about the accomplishments of some of the country’s most famous women.

Temporary access allowed for residents of landslide-threatened B.C. community

The district says areas of access to the community of about 54 homes could be expanded, depending on advice from a geotechnical engineer.

Most Read