Premier Brad Wall has presented a proposal to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to support an Accelerated Well Cleanup Program (AWCP) in Saskatchewan.
The proposal calls for $156 million in federal funding to help stimulate employment in the oil and gas service support sector, by accelerating the clean-up of oil wells no longer capable of production.
“Saskatchewan is home to a high concentration of energy service sector companies and their employees, many of whom are now out of work,” Wall said. “These are the professionals who are best suited to well cleanup.”
Despite net employment growth of 5,200 new jobs in Saskatchewan over the past year, the resource sector has lost 1,900 jobs during that same period.
“The Accelerated Well Cleanup Program will stimulate economic activity and job creation while at the same time delivering environmental benefits,” said Wall.
“This is responsible resource development and would provide work for a lot of people in the oil service sector who have felt the impact of the drop in the oil price.”
The AWCP would accelerate the decommissioning and reclamation of 1,000 non-producing wells over the next two years and generate an estimated 1,200 direct and indirect jobs in the oil and gas support industry.
"This program will create much needed job growth in the sector at this challenging time and most importantly, eliminate ongoing fugitive emissions from non-productive wells," said Dan Cugnet, the chairman of Valleyview Petroleums Ltd., which is an exploration and production company based in Weyburn that typically employs between 20 and 80 people, depending on the project.
"As an employer in the energy sector, I support and applaud Premier Wall and the Government of Saskatchewan for identifying the benefits of a program like this for the sector and ultimately all Canadians."
Reclamation activities include environmental site assessment, the safe removal and disposal of old equipment, the remediation of oil and salt water spills, the restoration and re-contouring of the site, and the re-vegetation of the land.
Further benefits of well decommissioning include:
*Eliminating fugitive emissions of greenhouse gases including methane;
*Remediating any environmental impacts that might have occurred during well operations;
*Restoring agricultural land and critical habitat.
Wall said he has spoken with and written to Prime Minister Trudeau about this proposal.
“The federal government has indicated they are considering this proposal and I look forward to a favourable response,” Wall said.