FORT ST. JOHN, B.C – British Columbia’s Dormant Sites Reclamation program proves beneficial for one Fort St. John oil and gas company.

Joffre Jorgenson, owner of Resolve Energy Solutions, says the best part is seeing northeast B.C. benefit.

“Not only is it helping local service companies get back to work, it’s also helping to remove the environmental footprint our industry leaves behind,” said Jorgenson.

“Although the $100 million only puts a small dent in the overall dormant site liability cleanup in [northeast B.C.], the DSRP program has triggered action to start with the reclamation programs with the operating companies who hold these liabilities.”

He added his company is excited for the future of local well reclamation.

Tim Giesbrecht, the company’s Business Development Co-ordinator, says overseeing asset retirement and decommissioning is a rewarding experience, from start to finish.

“What I find gratifying about it from an environmental perspective is you get to see direct results,” said Giesbrecht. “You can show up on a site one day and see there’s a wellhead, maybe a couple meter skids, a flare line. And two days later, it looks like there was nothing there.”

“Every site is unique and different in its own right, based on the kind of production or the field and zone that they were producing from,” Giesbrecht said. “With the right staffing levels, you can have one group ahead of everybody, getting everything prepped and removed. Then heavy equipment can move in.”

Essentially, there are three steps in retiring a well site: scouting, planning, and action, says Giesbrecht.

Google Earth is used to scout sites, utilizing satellite imagery to see what infrastructure is in place, he said, noting the BC Oil and Gas Commission also has a database of wellsite and pipelines to draw information from.

Next, crews visit sites to see what they can access, taking photos and getting the lay of the land, crafting a plan.

Planning involves determining the number of staff needed, site access, finding salvageable equipment, and taking waste and metals to scrap yards for recycling.

“Most of the equipment out there is metal, so a lot of it will go to ABC Recycling or Richmond Steel for recycling; there’s very little that goes into the garbage,” Giesbrecht said.

Facility deactivation is the next step, he added, with fluids and chemicals being safely removed from the site. Solvents are used to sanitize any remaining equipment before removal.