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Oil price spike won’t increase industry cleanup spending: Alberta energy minister

Cleanup is needed of nearly 100,000 abandoned wells in the province

Alberta’s energy minister says the current spike in oil prices isn’t enough reason to require the industry to spend more on cleaning up the tens of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells in the province.

Sonya Savage says the province’s recently adopted plan to fix the problem, which requires industry to spend $422 million next year and slightly more after that, is a fair and balanced approach.

She says it takes into account the industry’s current troubles and its expected future growth.

Oil prices have spiked to $80 a barrel and are expected to climb higher.

Some industry analysts have said the profits those prices will generate should help fund the cleanup of nearly 100,000 abandoned wells in Alberta, a project that will cost tens of billions of dollars.

Experts like Sara Hastings-Simon at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy say this may be Alberta’s last chance to get the money from industry.

But Savage says current spending requirements will make a meaningful difference and could be increased two years down the road.

—The Canadian Press