Status: Received royal assent on April 2, 2020
Ministry responsible: Energy

Overview

Bill 12: The Liabilities Management Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 enables the Orphan Well Association (OWA) to better manage and accelerate the clean-up of wells or sites which do not have a responsible owner. It will enable the OWA to play a more active role in reducing the inventory of orphan wells and associated infrastructure – such as pipelines – across the province, while protecting landowners and ensuring environmental and public safety.

This legislation includes amendments to the Oil and Gas Conservation Act and the Pipeline Act and will also enable future amendments to the Orphan Fund Delegated Administration Regulation.

This legislation sets the stage for job creation while ensuring a responsible, sustainable oil and gas industry in our province.

Key changes

This legislation will clarify the OWA’s ability to:

  • make agreements with producers to help site closures
  • ensure oil and gas resources are not prematurely abandoned
  • exert more financial control to manage sites that may become orphaned, as well as sites that are already in the OWA’s orphaned inventory

With this expanded scope the OWA will have more delegated authority to:

  • protect the value of producing assets
  • protect jobs
  • protect public safety
  • mitigate the risk of growing orphan sites

In March 2020, the Alberta government extended its loan to the OWA by up to $100 million, allowing the association to immediately speed up their reclamation efforts while also generating jobs in the oil services sector.

These amendments are part of a broader plan to address oil and gas liabilities across the province, with more details to be announced in the near future.

Next steps

Bill 12 comes into effect upon proclamation.

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