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The Abandonment Boom, Part 2: The Impact

by Mark Sabourin
Freelance Writer. Campbellford, Ontario
April 21, 2021

Click here to download the PDF version      

A welcome $1.72 billion cash infusion into the Western Canadian oil and gas service industry — everything from service rigs to environmental consultants — has helped an entire sector find its feet in the midst of a global pandemic. The rollout was anything but smooth, but with funds now flowing freely, the industry is loudly applauding the federal and provincial governments for a program that likely averted a financial disaster and may even have averted an environmental one.

In this second of two parts, ERIS looks at the program’s impact.

A Pandemic-Relief Gold Rush?
The federally-supported oil and gas site abandonment programs in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan may have stumbled out of the gate in the first half of 2020, but by the second half they were on course, money was flowing and industry was forgiving. Complaints of “Hurry up and wait” had been drowned out by a loud and insistent “Thank you.”

Alberta had botched its launch, but Alberta Energy hit the reset button and the program found its footing. Buckets of money have been allocated for various grant periods, with each grant period having its own criteria for application. Grant period 1 – the ill-fated launch – favoured the low-hanging fruit. Grant period 6, which is open until March 31, 2022, is aimed at abandonments on First Nations and Métis Settlement lands.