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Saskatchewan approves $34 million for oil and gas site clean-up work

Clean-up work at abandoned oil sites across Saskatchewan continues as the province provided an update on their orphan well program.

The Government of Saskatchewan has approved $34 million worth of work packages in the Accelerated Site Closure Program which launched in May. The province says there are 11 operators and 100 service companies involved in the approved packages and about $4.4 million in work has already been completed.

Onion Lake Business Development Corporation Executive Director Tom Chief says they appreciate being involved in the program.

“Getting back to work has been a blessing in disguise as we didn’t have a clue where the oil and gas industry was heading with the uncertainty of the market, and we’re very hopeful this work continues and keeps us busy for the next couple of years.”

The province notes 172 well abandonments, 312 well reclamations, 41 facility decommissions, and 38 flowline abandonments have been done to date. The program is expected to cover up to 8,000 inactive wells and facilities reclamation and support about 2,100 full-time jobs.

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Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre says the program has had an efficient roll out.

“Saskatchewan-based service companies were among the hardest-hit sectors by COVID-19 and the OPEC+ price war, and it was crucial to get those workers, who form the backbone of the oil and gas sector, back on the job.”

The province will be giving out $400 million to Saskatchewan-based service companies over two years through the federally funded COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. A total of $1.7 billion will be used to clean up orphan wells throughout the country.

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