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Saskatchewan pledges another $200 million towards abandoned oil well cleanup

The Saskatchewan Government says new work clearing up abandoned oil well sites is coming, as they’re investing more funding towards the jobs.

The province has announced $200 Million towards the Accelerated Site Closure Program, which is the second phase of funding for the project. The first phase is set to end this month, and the second will run until March 2022, during which the money will be available to oil and gas companies to accelerate the retirement of inactive wells that have reached the end of their life cycle.

By prioritizing Saskatchewan based companies, the government says they’ll create 2,000 full-time equivalent jobs and reclaim up to 8,000 inactive wells and facilities over two years.

“Our top priority continues to be getting Saskatchewan oil and gas service workers back to work,” Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre said in a statement. “The ASCP prioritizes Saskatchewan companies and is widely regarded as pragmatic, efficient and fair.”

The program is backed by $400 million total in the federal government’s COVID Economic Response Plan. In the first phase, $100 Million was given out, with more than $94 million in work packages on track for allocation by the end of 2020. As part of the first phase, $28 million was given to Lloydminster for this purpose.

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“The federal government’s funding to clean up inactive and orphan wells means Saskatchewan oil and gas workers are getting back on the job at a time when the industry that has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and low global commodity prices,” said Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan in a statement as well.

As of October 31, the government claims workers have completed cleaning up 428 well abandonments, 107 flowline abandonments, six facility reclamations and 552 site remediation jobs. They also note that there are more than 4,400 other projects underway right now.

Licensees will be notified about their phase two allocations in the near future.

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