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$400M available in next round of funding to clean up orphan oil wells in Alberta

Minister of Energy Sonya Savage and federal Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan announce new funding available through the Site Rehabilitation Program. Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. Jerry Favero, Global News

Alberta and the federal government say another $400 million in funding is available to help clean up inactive oil and gas sites in the province.

The money includes $100 million for clean up in Indigenous communities.

The rest of the money is to go to oil and gas producers who paid for closure work in 2019 or 2020.

Read more: Oil site cleanup program sees 18,000 applications in 4 days, ‘significantly’ over expectations

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage says the money will help preserve the environment while creating jobs.

The cash is part of a federally funded site rehabilitation program announced last May to direct up to $1 billion toward reclamation projects in Alberta.

READ MORE: Alberta landowners and legal experts criticize well cleanup bill

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Just over $300 million has been delivered to 633 Alberta-based companies so far.

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Contractors have until the end of 2022 to complete the work.

“This program is going to help significantly address the problem of a very large inventory of inactive wells,” Savage told a virtual news conference Friday.

Read more: Trudeau announces $1.7B to clean up orphan wells in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan

She said had more than 36,000 companies applied for the earlier rounds of funding and the subsequent work created an estimated 1,500 jobs.

Savage said Alberta has about 94,000 inactive wells.

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