CEO Seeks More Accountability

Jim Ellis talks tough on industry neglect

Jim Ellis doesn’t mince his words about orphan wells in Alberta.

In a Calgary Herald article, the Alberta Energy Regulator’s (AER’s) president and CEO wouldn’t speculate what will happen next, but says there “have to be some changes—and everybody knows it.”

In 2016, the Orphan Well Association (OWA)—whose job it is to ensure Albertans never have to pay for energy industry abandonment and reclamation costs—counted 768 wells in its inventory.

This number, along with the amount of other aging infrastructure such as pipelines and facilities, has always been top-of-mind. However, the AER decided that enough is enough, listing it as a priority item in the AER’s 2017-20 Strategic Plan.

Ellis’ comments reflect the AER’s frustration with companies that don’t follow the rules. The regulator took strong actions in the first few months of 2017 to bring companies into compliance for the protection of Albertans.

The AER is determined to find solutions that will protect public safety and the environment and make sure that Albertans are not on the hook financially when companies fail to meet their obligations.

Calgary Herald: Energy regulator considers firm timelines for cleaning up inactive wellsopens in new window
The head of Alberta’s energy watchdog is concerned about the growing number of orphan wells in the province and says changes are coming to help tackle the problem.

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