Recent Government of Alberta data shows that the number of inactive wells is on pace to exceed 100,000 by spring of this year.
This inactive well count grows naturally over time as sites reach their operational end-of-life or are no longer economically viable. Of particular concern to the Government is the portion of inactive sites classified as non-compliant.
The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) maintains a set of suspension requirements for wells known as Directive 013 (D13). When these obligations are not met by producers, a well is flagged as non-compliant. In most cases, this happens when a producer does not submit paperwork confirming that their inactive well satisfies the D13 requirements. Penalties for non-compliance range from warnings, to fines, and in some cases prosecution.
In 2015, the AER initiated the Inactive Well Compliance Program (IWCP) to address the roughly 30,000 wells in non-compliance (or nearing non-compliance) that year. The program was successful in reducing that number to about 15,600 non-compliant wells by July of 2019. However, an influx of inactive wells has increased that number to nearly 19,000 by the start of 2020.
With the IWCP scheduled to end at the end of this year, producers will look to the AER for continued guidance in this area. The best way for operators to remain compliant and manage regulatory uncertainty continues to be active well management and consistent documentation.
Managing compliance can be cumbersome, opLYNX Mobile was built to support operators who need to easily manage their D13 obligations on a day-to-day basis. Used daily by over 600 Alberta users and the industry’s largest companies, opLYNX Mobile provides intuitive data entry forms and simplified reporting. Download the app now to see if it is the right fit for your organization – oplynx.com/mobile
- Alberta Energy Regulator Directive 013 – https://www.aer.ca/regulating-development/rules-and-directives/directives/directive-013
- Alberta Energy Regulator Inactive Well Compliance Program – https://www.aer.ca/documents/directives/Directive013_IWCPYearTwoFinalReport.pdf