Fines added for dormant well decommissioning, restoration violations

Fines approved before Horgan announced reclamation funding


Victoria has quietly added fines of up to half a million dollars to legislation for dormant oil and gas wells in B.C.

Minister of Energy, Mines Petroleum Resources May 11 signed a ministerial order changing penalties applicable to dormant wells governed by the Oil and Gas Activities Act Dormancy and Shutdown Regulation.

The order was signed before Premier John Horgan May 13 said B.C.’s government would plough $120 million in federal funding into a program to accelerate the reclamation of thousands of dormant and orphan oil and gas wells in B.C.

The changed regulation sets out various types of sites by periods from decommissioning to site restorations. Dependent on well type and time periods, fines can range from $100,000 to $500,000.

Fines of $50,000 can be assessed if operators violate regulations regarding annual work plans, annual reports and notices of work plans or intention to start work.

The ministry said the regulation  was amended to add penalties for the regulation to deter non-compliance with the regulatory provisions.