CALGARY – The number of orphan wells in British Columbia has more than doubled thanks to the failure of one oil and gas company.
The BC Oil and Gas Commission says it has designated 401 wells and three facilities formerly owned by Calgary-based Ranch Energy as orphans, which means there is no owner willing or able to restore those sites.
The provincial agency says the wells take B.C.’s list of orphan sites to a total of 770, although 56 of those sites are substantially restored.
Ranch slipped into receivership in July 2018. Last Friday, the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta approved a transaction under which 414 oil and gas sites owned by Ranch were sold to Erikson National Energy Inc.
The commission says it will carry out site clean-up and restoration on the remaining Ranch assets through the fully industry-funded Orphan Site Reclamation Fund.
It says it has already permanently plugged 11 wells and partially drained a storage pond to ensure public safety during the Ranch Energy legal proceedings.
The B.C. orphan program is budgeted to spend more than $27 million during the current fiscal year.