Orphaned and Abandoned Well Regulation

IOGCC Member and Associate member states mitigate future potential orphaned and abandoned wells through permitting and regulatory processes. Most states require some form of security or financial assurance in the permitting process to ensure proper plugging and abandonment of oil and gas wells in the event the operator becomes insolvent. Additionally, individual states address potential abandonment of wells through temporary abandonment allowances, plugging and abandonment requirements, and incentives for bringing idle and orphaned wells back to production.

Individual Canadian Province/Territory Regulatory Progress Statements

Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada

No orphan wells currently exist in Newfoundland and Labrador. Offshore wells operations are subject to the Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Drilling and Production Regulations under the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Newfoundland and Labrador Act. Onshore well operations are subject to the Petroleum Drilling Regulations under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act.  (Updated November 2010)

British Columbia, Canada

In British Columbia, oil and gas operators have primary responsibility for the management of  contaminated sites. The BC Oil and Gas Commission’s regulatory role is to oversee the restoration process through the application of regulations and rules, compliance and enforcement, and as a last resort the management of the Orphan Site Reclamation Fund. (Updated November 2010)

Saskatchewan, Canada

Saskatchewan established the Oil and Gas Environmental Fund on May 17, 1989, pursuant to Section 18.2 of The Oil and Gas Conservation Regulations, 1985.  In June 2007, an amendment was made to The Oil and Gas Conservation Act that provided for the continuance of the existing Oil and Gas Environmental Fund as The Oil and Gas Orphan Fund.  The Oil and Gas Orphan Fund provides the government with a means to address the costs of abandoning and decommissioning orphan wells and facilities and reclaiming the sites, as well as the containment of environmental emergencies arising from oil and gas operations.  The legislative authority for the fund and the specific provisions of the fund are found in The Oil and Gas Conservation Act and the regulations thereunder. (Updated November 2010)