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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Landowners and residents came out to the Pomeroy Hotel & Conference Centre on Wednesday to learn about the B.C. Oil & Gas Commission’s orphan site restoration process.

This information session gave landowners information as to how orphan sites are identified, how risk is managed, and how they are restored.

Presenting the information was Mike Janzen Director of Orphan Planning & Restoration for B.C. OGC.

According to Janzen, there are over 25,400 wells in B.C. with 40 percent of those wells being active, while 30 percent are inactive, 13 percent are abandoned, and 17 percent that has been restored.

Janzen says one of the OGC’s plans when dealing with orphan sites, is to hold industry accountable for the cost associated with restoration of these sites, adding that their goal is to be the first in Western Canada to bring out timelines in restoring orphan sites.

“Our Orphan Treatment Closure Program basically falls under the Commission’s strategy for what is comprehensive liability management. There are really three pillars in there and this is all around the industries pay approach for trying to hold industry accountable for the costs of restoration. Our goal is to become the first Province in Western Canada to bring out timelines for site restoration.”

In order to carry out the plan of better site management, the Provincial Government introduced new legislation that supports the plan under three categories which includes Permit Decisions, Dormant Sites, and the Orphan Levy.

According to Janzen, the Commission is supporting landowners by taking full responsibility of orphan sites when a company leaves and is no longer paying for the site.

“Throughout the course of the operational life of the site, the operator or the permit holder may become bankrupt, insolvent, or we can’t find them, so in that case, restoration and the responsibility for that site is not the landowner’s, the Commission has taken it on and we are now in care and control of that site.”

The Commision says they plan to continue providing information and public meetings on well sites as part of their on-going mission to be transparent with landowners and the general public.

For more information on Orphan Site Management, you can visit the OGC’s website.

For any concerns relating to well sites, you can contact the OGC’s 24-hour service line at 250-794-5200.

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