GFM Network News


The head of the Orphan Well Association says that thanks to increased funding and working year round, the reclamation of abandoned well sites has sped up considerably.

Cleanup of orphan wells in the province is ramping up

The Orphan Well Association has picked up the pace when it comes to decommissioning wells

Reading Time: 3 minutes Alberta’s orphan well problem hasn’t gone away — but it’s got a whole lot better than it was. “We are going at a high pace of activity for this last year,” said Lars DePauw, executive director of the Orphan Well Association. “We’re probably the most active organization in the closure space in Western Canada, including […] Read more

Under the Site Rehabilitation Program, farmers can nominate abandoned well sites — like this one in the Municipal District of Taber — for cleanup.

Lots of applications on orphan wells, but few boots on the ground

Abandoned well program inundated with applications but approvals slow in coming

Reading Time: 5 minutes Progress has been slow, but Alberta farmers should soon see work being done to remove abandoned oil and gas wells. In May, Ottawa put up $1.72 billion to clean up orphan or inactive oil and gas wells, pipelines and facilities in Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C., with Alberta using its $1-billion share to create the Site […] Read more


This pilot solar installation, built by SkyFire Energy near Tilley in 2015, could be a model for reclaiming orphan well sites on lower-quality land. Another pilot is underway in the MD of Taber but the provincial UCP government hasn’t demonstrated an interest in using well reclamation money for this sort of project.

Orphan well cleanup gets $1.7 billion from Ottawa

Move to deal with long-standing problem welcomed but bid to use sites for solar arrays may get lost in shuffle

Reading Time: 5 minutes A federal cash injection of $1.7 billion will help clean up Alberta’s mess of orphan oil and gas wells. “We were already planning to have a very busy 2020, and this is going to help us continue doing the work that we’re doing,” said Lars De Pauw, executive director of the Orphan Well Association. The […] Read more

Kochia has taken over this abandoned well site and stands nearly as tall as Kevin Serfas. The Turin farmer says his calls to the energy companies that own several dozen similar sites on his family’s farming operation go unanswered. And managing the weeds would require “a full-time guy,” he said.

Farmers lose — and weeds win — when energy companies walk away

When well sites are abandoned, the rent cheques 
often stop while the noxious weeds flourish

Reading Time: 5 minutes “Kochia six feet tall and completely covering the whole leases. We have many that look like this. When I phone, no one even answers the phones.” This tweet from Lethbridge-area farmer Kevin Serfas in August likely could have been written by any one of hundreds of Alberta producers with abandoned well sites on their farms. […] Read more


Court ruling alone won’t fix ‘orphan’ well crisis

Court ruling alone won’t fix ‘orphan’ well crisis

There are now more than 3,000 abandoned wells in Alberta, and many more that are no longer active

Reading Time: 3 minutes A Supreme Court ruling that puts cleanup ahead of creditors is a step forward — but won’t “make too much difference” to landowners with abandoned wells, says a director with the Alberta Surface Rights Federation. “The landowners are still going to be in a situation where they have to deal with contaminated land for maybe […] Read more

Orphan wells a growing problem for Alberta farmers

Orphan wells a growing problem for Alberta farmers

There are thousands of abandoned wells, which not only means 
lost rents but weed issues and contamination risks

Reading Time: 4 minutes Landowners and farmers could be left holding the bill following the bankruptcy of yet another Alberta energy company. Calgary-based natural gas producer Sequoia Resources Corp. ceased operations last month, abandoning a number of aging oil and gas wells that need to be sealed and cleaned up. “With Sequoia, there are 3,000 wells — 700 abandoned […] Read more