VICTORIA — More than 1,100 applications deluged a British Columbia program creating a funding plan to restore dormant and inactive oil and gas wells, within hours of the program’s launch.

Energy Minister Bruce Ralston says Monday’s requests equal up to $152 million in reclamation work and if completed would potentially support up to 1,200 jobs and reclaim over 2,400 inactive wells.

The federal government announced in April that B.C. would receive $120 million to clean up inactive oil and gas sites, most of them in the northeastern corner of the province.

Much of the funding will be set aside for the reclamation program and successful applications will receive up to $100,000, or 50 per cent of the costs, whichever is less, to clean up their dormant site.

The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission’s orphan sites program will receive $15 million and another $5 million will go to the legacy sites reclamation program.

Ralston says in a news release that the “extraordinary interest” is great news both for getting the economy moving again during the COVID-19 pandemic and for cleaning up the environment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2020.

The Canadian Press