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Alberta

Province of Alberta loaning Orphan Well Association 100 Million to create jobs and accelerate clean up

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LIVE: Alberta's Blueprint for Jobs – Cleaning up Orphan Wells

LIVE: Kicking off Alberta's Blueprint for Jobs with an announcement of $100 million more to the Orphan Well Association to decommission 1,000 wells and create 500 new jobs.

Posted by Jason Kenney on Monday, 2 March 2020

From The Province of Alberta

Creating jobs, accelerating well cleanup

A government loan to the Orphan Well Association (OWA) will spur the creation of hundreds of green jobs and reduce the number of orphaned wells across Alberta.

As the first step in A Blueprint for Jobs, the province is extending its loan to the OWA by up to $100 million. This loan will bolster the association’s immediate reclamation efforts and generate up to 500 direct and indirect jobs in the oil services sector.

“Today’s investment is part of our Blueprint for Jobs. This taxpayer investment will create good-paying jobs while improving the environment. Actions like this will help to get Alberta back to work.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

“We are getting Albertans back to work while staying true to our province’s reputation as a responsible resource developer. This loan will increase economic activity across our province and is an important step in addressing the pressing issue of oil and gas liabilities – particularly in rural Alberta.”

Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy

“By staying on top of the orphaned well inventory, we’re helping to ensure a sustainable energy industry in Alberta. The Orphan Well Association continues to increase our efficiencies while also increasing the number of sites we are addressing. This loan will help us further these efforts while helping Alberta’s service sector and reducing the impact on affected landowners.”

Lars De Pauw, executive director, Orphan Well Association

Government and the OWA are currently finalizing specific loan terms and conditions, including establishing a repayment schedule. Both parties have agreed that this investment will be completed before April 1, 2021.

The Blueprint for Jobs is a plan to bring jobs and investment back to Alberta and restore the province’s position as the best place in the country to live, work, start a business, and raise a family. The Government of Alberta is focused on creating jobs, growing the economy and getting Alberta back to work.

Quick facts

  • The loan extension will enable the OWA to:
  • decommission approximately 1,000 wells
  • start more than 1,000 environmental site assessments for reclamation
  • The Alberta government previously provided the OWA with a $235 million interest-free loan. The OWA began repaying the loan in 2019, using money received from industry through the annual Orphan Fund Levy.
  • In the coming weeks, government will be introducing a full suite of products, covering the entire lifecycle of wells from start to finish.

About the Orphan Well Association

The Orphan Well Association is an independent non-profit organization that operates under the delegated legal authority of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER). The mandate of the OWA is to safely decommission orphan oil and gas wells, pipelines and production facilities, and restore the land as close to its original state as possible. Funding for the OWA comes primarily from the upstream oil and gas industry, through annual levies administered by the AER.

Key Terms

Inactive well: A well that has not been used for production, injection, or disposal for a specified amount of time – six months for high-risk wells, or 12 months for medium- and low- risk wells.

Orphan: A well, pipeline, or facility that does not have any legally responsible and/or financially able party to conduct abandonment and reclamation responsibilities.

Abandoned well: A well that is no longer needed to support oil and gas development and is permanently plugged, cut and capped according to Alberta Energy Regulator requirements.

Reclamation: The process of returning the site, as close as possible, to a state that’s equivalent to before it was disturbed. Companies are responsible for reclamation liability for 25 years, after which the liability reverts to the Crown.

Alberta

After prior rejections, Alberta announces sandhill crane hunt for this fall

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EDMONTON — Alberta has announced there will be a sandhill crane hunting season this fall — a hunt that’s been opposed by an environmental group and was previously rejected by the provincial government three times.

The province said in a news release on Sunday that the season launches on September 1 in more than 50 wildlife management units in southern and east-central Alberta.

Environment Minister Jason Nixon says in the release that it “will support the province’s wildlife management goals and boost local economies.”

Alberta Conservation Association president Todd Zimmerling says in the same release that the birds make “excellent table fare” and that they’ve been hunted for many years across the rest of their range.

But Nissa Pettersen of the Alberta Wilderness Association said earlier this year, when the minister told a magazine he’d asked his department consider a hunt, that despite their healthy numbers, the birds reproduce slowly and are rapidly losing the wetlands where they live.

Alberta decided against sandhill crane hunts in 2009, 2013 and 2014.

“Alberta hunters care deeply about the province’s environment, species and wild places, and providing another opportunity to engage in a pursuit that supports conservation as well as economic activity is a win-win,” Nixon said in the release.

The province said sandhill crane hunting seasons have existed in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba for more than 50 years, with the sandhill crane population remaining healthy.

It said the number of sandhill cranes in the Alberta has increased steadily in recent years, adding that the hunt is supported by Alberta hunting stakeholders, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the Central Flyway Council.

There are more than 600,000 sandhill cranes across North America.

But Pettersen said in April that because the cranes depend on wetlands that are disappearing, and also have a low birth rate, that they might not bounce back from a year of hunting. 

The Alberta Wilderness Association also said that a hunt would threaten the endangered whooping crane, which uses some of the same migration routes and could be mistaken for either bird.

The Canadian Wildlife Service proposed in December that the province open a fall sandhill season, saying it would provide a new hunting opportunity in Alberta and provide a mechanism to deal with crop depredation issues caused by cranes.

Pettersen discounted concerns about the birds eating crops in the field, noting that when that argument was made during the last debate over hunting, the total of actual complaints against the birds was five.

The province says hunters will need a provincial game bird licence and a federal migratory bird licence to hunt sandhill cranes. It says the Alberta hunt is expected to add only two per cent to the number of sandhill cranes harvested across North America.

The provincial release says fishing, hunting, trapping, and sport-shooting activities contributed $1.8 billion to Alberta’s GDP in 2018, supporting 11,700 jobs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta First Nation monitors hundreds for COVID-19 as it announces curfew

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SIKSIKA NATION, Alta. — A First Nation in southern Alberta has implemented a curfew as its health workers monitor more than 200 people for signs they may have developed COVID-19.

Siksika Nation Chief Ouray Crowfoot said in video messages posted on Facebook that as of Thursday there were 21 known COVID-19 positive cases with links to the community west of Calgary, and that five separate and unrelated case clusters had been uncovered in the previous 12 days.

Crowfoot said that as of Wednesday, 258 Siksika Nation members were under “active investigation and daily followup” by the community’s health services team — a number he said had quadrupled in only three days.

On Friday, councillors approved a temporary curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time, with exceptions that Crowfoot said can be made on an as-needed basis for work or other reasons.

Crowfoot encouraged Siksika Nation members to co-operate with health officials if they call, and to avoid non-essential travel to nearby cities. 

He said the risk of community transmission is high and that each new case cluster makes it even harder to contact trace and isolate people fast enough.

“We realize you have freedom of choice but we don’t have freedom of consequence. If we choose not to follow these guidelines, the consequence may be that we contract the virus and spread the virus further through our community,” Crowfoot warned in a video message posted Thursday.

In a message posted Friday, Crowfoot said his community had met meeting with federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller and Alberta Indigenous Affairs Minister Rick Wilson to address shortfalls in resources for dealing with the pandemic.

Crowfoot said the community’s annual Sun Dance ceremony was continuing, but that each participant was being tested prior to entering and that health workers were screening people as they came and went.

“It is understandable that people may feel anxious regarding this current situation, but if we continue to stay vigilant to the public health measures and do our best to limit travel and to avoid gatherings we have a chance to slow down the spread on our nation and also give our health team a chance to do their job,” Crowfoot said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 4, 2020

The Canadian Press

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july, 2020

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