REGINA - The provincial government is promoting numbers that it says reflects the success of the Accelerated Site Closure Program.
Over 8,800 inactive oil and gas wells and facilities in Saskatchewan were capped or closed under the initiative, the government said in a news release Thursday morning. The program, which has now wrapped up, was announced in 2020 and provided $400 million directly to Saskatchewan-based oil and gas service companies.
"This work would not have been possible without the dedication of Saskatchewan's oil and gas service sector, which stepped up to get the work done within a relatively short timeframe," said Energy and Resources Minister Jim Reiter.
Funding was provided from the Government of Canada and administered through the Saskatchewan Research Council. Saskatchewan said it spent 100 per cent of funds allocated to the province. Funding went to more than 900 unique Saskatchewan-based oil and gas service companies, supporting an estimated 2,500 jobs over the life of the program. That includes about 1,790 jobs directly in the oil and gas service sector.
Over $90 million of program funds were spent in support of Indigenous participation. Over $32 million was used for projects on reserve lands and eligible Indigenous service companies completed over $59 million in site closure work under the program.
"The program provided an opportunity for a number of First Nations and Métis businesses to continue to operate through the COVID-19 pandemic in the oil and gas sector," said Sheldon Wuttunee, Saskatchewan First Nations Natural Resource Centre of Excellence president and CEO.
"This means that many First Nations and Métis people were also working and the investment in reclaiming inactive sites and facilities means continued use for generations to come."
The Saskatchewan First Nations Natural Resource Centre of Excellence, in collaboration with the program, secured successful outcomes for Indigenous communities and businesses, helping to facilitate new partnerships within Saskatchewan's oil and gas industry.
Many former oil and gas sites will be returned to their natural state or previous use. The work has remediated and reclaimed lands across the province, including on reserve lands.
In addition to the 8,800 abandoned wells, over 3,400 flowline abandonments were completed, over 14,000 site remediation and reclamation activities were conducted and over 18,500 unique oil and gas sites saw site closure work were completed.