Advertisement

Oil and gas well cleanup efforts hampered by labour shortage

Click to play video: 'More transparency needed when it comes to oil well cleanup in Alberta, says researcher' More transparency needed when it comes to oil well cleanup in Alberta, says researcher
Public funds for oil well cleanup may not have been well spent, according to a report from the Parkland Institute, a research group headquartered at the University of Alberta, and Oxfam Canada. Kim Smith spoke with Megan Egler, author of the report – Jul 18, 2021

A shortage of rig workers could delay progress when it comes to cleaning up Alberta’s tens of thousands of inactive oil and gas wells.

The Canadian Association of Energy Contractors says drilling and service companies are struggling to find enough workers as oil and gas companies ramp up production in response to surging commodity prices.

Read more: Shortage of rig workers could slow Canadian oilpatch recovery, industry warns

Many of the same companies that provide rigs for new drilling programs are also involved in industry cleanup efforts.

The Alberta government announced last year it would require companies to spend a minimum amount of money every year toward cleanup of inactive wells. The federal government has also made $1-billion available to Alberta for industry contractors working on well cleanup.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Alberta will start paying out $1B in federal oilfield cleanup grants May 1' Alberta will start paying out $1B in federal oilfield cleanup grants May 1
Alberta will start paying out $1B in federal oilfield cleanup grants May 1 – Apr 24, 2020

The government programs were in part meant to help create jobs for unemployed rig workers at the outset of the pandemic. Oil prices crashed in early 2020 and many rigs were idled.

Read more: Easing rules on transfer of unreclaimed oil wells could speed cleanup, study finds

Alberta Energy spokeswoman Jennifer Henshaw says the government is in talks with industry about the labour shortage. She said worker shortages could delay efforts in the short-term, but well cleanup remains a priority.

Sponsored content