A pumpjack works at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The latest round of applications is now open under a $100-million fund aimed at cleaning dormant oil and gas wells in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

A pumpjack works at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The latest round of applications is now open under a $100-million fund aimed at cleaning dormant oil and gas wells in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

B.C. opens latest round of funding to clean up dormant oil and gas wells

B.C. Energy Minister Bruce Ralston says the second half of the funding is set to be dispersed in the coming months

The latest round of applications is now open under a $100-million fund aimed at cleaning dormant oil and gas wells in British Columbia.

B.C. Energy Minister Bruce Ralston says the second half of the funding is set to be dispersed in the coming months after the first $50 million supported about 1,000 jobsand reclamation activities at nearly 1,900 sites.

He says the first round included $15 million worth of work on sites in B.C.’s agricultural land reserve and dormant well sites located in habitat that is critical to the at-risk northern mountain population of woodland caribou.

The province is receiving $120 million in federal funds after Ottawa pledged $1.7 billion in April to help B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan clean up thousands of inactive and so-called orphan oil and gas wells.

Ralston says he expects the latest funding will create a similar number of jobs as the first, with priority going to local and Indigenous workers.

He says field service workers will be matched with sites nominated for cleanup by Indigenous communities, local governments and landowners.

“By aligning the nomination and the application processes, we’re able to ensure that local knowledge and concerns get first priority,” Ralston told a news conference Thursday, adding the reclamation work supports jobs during the economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bulk of B.C.’s $120-million share of the federal funding is aimed at cleaning up more than 8,500 dormant wells, which are sites that have been inactive for five years and aren’t likely to return to service.

The program provides eligible companies up to $100,000 or 50 per cent of the cost of a site cleanup, whichever is less.

B.C. has also earmarked $15 million to address 770 orphan wells, or sites owned by companies that are insolvent, can’t be located or no longer exist.

Another $5 million is set aside to address legacy sites and the impacts of historical oil and gas activities on communities and wildlife.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Construction takes place on Bamfield Main in early February 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY CTV NEWS)
Closures planned for Bamfield Road

Construction by Mosaic unrelated to $30M upgrade

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The Alberni Valley’s Emergency Operations Centre is located around the corner and below the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District office. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District tests new mobile alert system

Residents can still sign up for free Voyent Alert! emergency messaging

Crews respond to a structure fire in the 6000 block of Renton Road in Cherry Creek on Saturday, Feb. 27. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Workshop destroyed in Cherry Creek fire

Crews stayed on scene overnight fighting ‘stubborn’ blaze

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Tax error in 2020 means lower rate for residents in 2021

Alberni’s taxation for regional library accidently written down twice

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

The Nanaimo Clippers in action at Frank Crane Arena in early 2020. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Clippers for sale, owner says hockey won’t be back to normal any time soon

Wes Mussio says he’s had numerous inquiries about the junior A club already

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Most Read