Sask. seeking $156M from Ottawa to clean up old oil wells

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is asking Ottawa for $156 million to clean up old oil wells in order to provide a boost to the ailing oil patch.

Accelerated program could provide boost to ailing oil patch economy, premier says

Premier Brad Wall is asking Ottawa for $156 million to clean up old oil well sites. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is asking Ottawa for $156 million to clean up old oil wells.

Wall said Monday he has presented a proposal to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for money for a program to accelerate well cleanups.

Over the next two years, such a program could allow decommissioning and reclamation of 1,000 non-producing wells.

That could mean 1,200 direct and indirect jobs in the oil and gas support industry at a time when the oil patch is reeling from layoffs, Wall said.

Wall said the initiative, while not perfect, would help. 

"No program's going to be perfect. Thirty dollar oil is not perfect, and so we weighed those things," he said. 

Wall said the government contacted the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, who were supportive "in principle" of it.

Activities covered in the program could include environmental site assessment, removal and disposal of old equipment, remediation of oil and salt water spills, restoration of the sites and the re-vegetation of the land.

Matt Cugnet with Valleyview Petroleums in Weyburn said he supports the Premier's proposal. 

Cugnet said his family-owned company spent $5.5 million cleaning up oil wells in the last few years. 

"A program like this gets people working. It does eliminate the problem wells before they become a liability," he said. 

Wall said he's waiting to hear back from Trudeau on the proposal.


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