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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.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Alberta adds 700 enforcers to stop COVID-19 rule-breakers as hospitalizations climb

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CALGARY — Alberta is giving 700 more peace officers the power to enforce COVID-19 restrictions as hospitalizations for the virus continue to climb in the province. 

“We are not asking these officers to stop cold their day-to-day priorities or to harass responsible Albertans going about their everyday lives,” Justice Minister Kaycee Madu said Friday, as Alberta reported 1,227 new COVID-19 cases and nine more deaths. 

Police officers and health inspectors also have the ability to enforce the rules. 

Federal data shows that as of Friday, Alberta had the highest seven-day infection rate in Canada with 209 cases per 100,000 people. 

Alberta has 405 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 86 in intensive care. A week ago, there were 55 patients in intensive care with COVID-19. 

Postponing surgeries is one of the ways the province is freeing up space to accommodate more people severely ill with the virus. 

New measures came into effect Friday to help blunt the spike in cases. Private indoor social gatherings are banned, capacity limits have been imposed on stores and students between grades 7 and 12 switch to remote learning on Monday. 

Fines for breaking the rules range from $1,000 to $100,000 in extreme cases that make it to court. 

When asked whether there would be crackdowns on anti-mask rallies, Madu said police will make independent decisions. 

“But as minister of justice, my expectation is that those who are in violation of the measures that we have put in place would have to be held accountable.”

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said she is disappointed to hear about Alberta Health Services inspectors being verbally abused. 

“Nobody deserves that, least of all the people who are working to keep all of us safe,” she said. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020. 

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Growth investing needed as pandemic wanes, says former BoC governor David Dodge

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LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — Former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge says Canada must shift its attention to investing for economic growth as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic downturn over the next few years.

In an online presentation at the virtual Bennett Jones Lake Louise World Cup Business Forum, the former central bank chief said Canadian governments and businesses will have to continue to borrow money in 2021 and 2022.

But he added borrowing of $400 billion to date this year for the federal government and $100 billion for the provinces — about 20 per cent of Canadian GDP — should be reduced going forward and directed to growth areas rather than “consumption,” as has been the case to date.

The business forum is normally held in Lake Louise, Alta., in conjunction with World Cup alpine ski races, but both the races and the in-person conference were called off this year because of the pandemic.

Dodge says he’s expecting about 3.9 per cent economic growth in Canada in 2021, assuming vaccines are widely available after the second quarter, and 1.9 per cent in 2022. 

He says the pace of growth should return to 2019 levels by the spring of 2022, but national output will still be three per cent lower than it would have been without COVID-19.

Dodge said a key challenge for Canada going forward is to continue to develop its technology expertise to compete with the growing influence of China.

“COVID has accelerated the transformation to a truly digital world and to Asia as it’s epicentre,” he said.

“Canada can thrive in this world as long as Canadian businesses, workers and governments work together and focus on investing in the future, not in preserving the past.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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