Funding to clean up orphan or inactive oil & gas wells to create employment and reduce methane emissions

Last updated: 24 April 2023

The Canadian Government is providing up to $1.72 billion CAD to the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, and to the Alberta Orphan Well Association, to clean up orphan and inactive oil and gas wells. The government estimates this will help maintain approximately 5,200 jobs in Alberta alone and reduce methane emissions.


There are approximately 5,650 orphan wells and over 139,000 inactive wells in Canada.  Alberta has by far the largest share of both—4,700 orphan wells and 91,000 inactive wells—and will receive the largest share of funding with up to $1 billion CAD to the Alberta government and a $200 million CAD loan to the Alberta Orphan Well Association.  Saskatchewan has 600 orphan wells and 36,000 inactive wells and will receive up to $400 million CAD.  British Columbia has 350 orphan wells and 12,000 inactive wells and will receive up to $120 million CAD.


In February 2021, a new round was open under a CAD 100 million fund aimed at cleaning dormant oil and gas wells in British Columbia. The first round of CAD 50 million supported about 1 000 jobs for reclamation activities at nearly 1 900 sites. The program provides eligible companies up to CAD 100 000 or 50 per cent of the cost of a site clean-up, whichever is less.

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