There are now over 80,000 inactive oil wells across the province of Alberta. This is getting to be too much, and something needs to change.
ALBERTA — Truth be told, 80,000 of anything is a lot. Sadly, when it comes to Alberta, there are now more than 80,000 inactive oil and gas wells spanning the province from north to south, and east to west.
This number has been steadily growing year over year, and it doesn’t look like it’ll be stopping anytime soon.
If oil prices rise 200 per cent, the modeling shows that just 12 per cent of oil wells become reactivated, and just seven per cent of gas wells.University of Calgary’s The School of Public Policy and author Lucija Muehlenbachs
In other words, it would take for WTI Crude oil prices going from today’s $53 mark, up to $106 a barrel to get 9,600 oil wells, and 5,600 gas wells reactivated. Even with that, it would still leave 64,800 inactive, which just isn’t right.
Inactive wells can either become an asset, if they eventually are reactivated and contribute to our energy supply, or they could become a liability if they are never reactivated, cause potential environmental degradation, and require costly cleanup.The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary
The School of Public Policy suggests that a limit be placed on the amount of time wells can be considered inactive before they must be torn down and removed from their site. They are entirely against allowing the industry to keep wells inactive indefinitely, which let’s be honest, makes complete sense.
In the end, being able to leave an oil well in an inactive state is a convenience for their owners, but there are no added benefits to Albertans.
View the full press release by The School of Public Policy, UofC.