ELM Inc. is pleased to announce the successful completion of a multi-dimensional field abandonment and decommissioning project in the Manyberries area of southeast Alberta for the Orphan Well Association (OWA). This project represents over a year of strategic planning and organization to develop and implement a plan that addressed the challenging environmental and conservation protocols placed on oil and gas activities in the Manyberries area.
To complete this project required significant collaboration and coordination across all of ELM’s business disciplines. ELM relied heavily on our unique liability advisory services team to address various environmental and technical challenges due to the presence of Species-at-Risk (SAR), such as the Greater Sage Grouse and Short Horned Lizard, found among the sagebrush in the Manyberries area.
For the Manyberries area, careful environmental management was required given this area is managed under a federal 2013 Emergency Protection Order (EPO). The EPO is intended to help SAR, like the Greater Sage Grouse, to increase their population sizes and habitat use while also facilitating the completion of necessary environmental management activities. ELM was hired to deliver an abandonment and decommissioning program while avoiding negative consequences on the SAR present in these areas. The EPO encompassed the vast majority of well sites that were scheduled for abandonment and decommissioning.
We carefully integrated our efforts with OWA, local stakeholders, and government scientists to develop a plan that met the requirements of the EPO while at the same time providing protection to the SAR. In this regard, we commenced work in the field at the most appropriate time of the year to accommodate SAR mating and nesting cycles and executed the work without disturbing SAR known to inhabit the sagebrush associated with the oil and gas assets or their delicate ecosystem.
Within the three-month period from September 1 to Nov 30, ELM, and its suppliers, completed 129 downhole well abandonments, along with 119 wellheads cut and caps, at an average of 37.6% of AER D11 cost. In addition to this, 242 pipeline abandonments were completed as well as surface equipment decommissioning and removal on 123 wellsites / satellite locations.
The benefit to the Greater Sage Grouse and other SAR in this area will be an increase in the amount of native sagebrush and a decrease in predation of these species by means of predators using oil and gas infrastructure as a perch point for hunting.
Our sincere appreciation goes out to the entire team at OWA, Alberta Environment and Parks for working with us to find mutually beneficial solutions that allowed ELM to complete the work on time while supporting the current and future repopulation of the Greater Sage Grouse and other native SAR.
We would also like to thank Environment Canada for their review and approval of our work plan regarding federally protected SAR locations. ELM would also like to express its thanks to the many local vendors who provided key services and partnered with us to protect this sensitive habitat during the project.
As demonstrated by the success of this project, ELM’s diverse team of experts with experience across the entire environmental liability management spectrum continues to enable ELM to plan and execute complex closure programs even in the most challenging environments where even Species-at-Risk considerations are paramount.
For all your comprehensive closure needs call ELM today at 587-392-4001 or visit us at www.elminc.ca