Technology Alberta Energy Regulator blocks sale of Shell assets over clean-up concerns

10:01  15 may  2020
10:01  15 may  2020 Source:   msn.com

Alberta's top court overturns oilsands project approval over Aboriginal concerns

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CALGARY — Alberta ’s energy regulator has blocked the sale of sour gas wells, pipelines and other facilities from an energy giant to a much smaller company over clean - up concerns . In a decision released today

The estimates were outlined by an Alberta Energy Regulator official in a September 2018 presentation to oil and gas professionals as he made the case for The presentation repeats a staggering estimate that it could cost 0 billion to clean up what remains of Alberta ’s oilpatch, which the AER said was

a man wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The Canadian Press

CALGARY — Alberta's energy regulator has cited clean-up concerns in blocking the sale of sour gas wells, pipelines and other facilities from an energy giant to a much smaller company.

In a decision released Thursday, the regulator said Calgary-based Pieridae Energy's attempted purchase of the southern Alberta assets from Shell Canada goes against the intent of environmental laws.

The issue was seen as a test case of the regulator's determination to avoid clean-up costs for energy facilities falling to the taxpayer.

In its written decision, the Alberta Energy Regulator said it wasn't happy with how the deal would have split the liability for cleaning up the sites, especially at a pair of gas processing plants. The terms of the sale would have had Shell responsible for existing contamination and Pieridae on the hook for future problems.

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Stunning, internal documents from Alberta 's Energy Regulator estimate the cost to clean up Alberta 's oil and gas industry may be 0 billion. The issue also came up during question period in the House of Commons on Thursday, as federal politicians sparred over the investigation’s findings.

Cleaning up the Alberta oilpatch could cost an estimated 0 billion, internal regulatory documents warn. The staggering financial liabilities for the energy industry’s mining waste and graveyard of spent facilities were spelled out by a high-ranking official of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) in a

"The scope and extent of the contamination at the site is not well known and is not well described in the applications," the decision said. "To date, the contamination at the sites has not been fully understood."

Without knowing that, the regulator said, it would be impossible to know which company would have been responsible for what.  

The decision also said the company that made the mess should clean it up.

"Shell is the polluter," said the decision. "The ... applications appear to request that the AER, by way of approval, override or at least significantly dilute Shell’s obligations.

"The AER is of the view that it cannot, by way of approval, carve up and redistribute fundamental regulatory obligations in a manner that is contrary to or inconsistent with (the law)."

Alberta First Nations appeal suspension of environmental monitoring in oilpatch

  Alberta First Nations appeal suspension of environmental monitoring in oilpatch EDMONTON — Three northern Alberta First Nations are asking to appeal the province's suspension of environmental monitoring in the oilpatch because it "fails to come close" to being a reasonable decision. Alberta's Opposition leader called on Monday for the head of the province's energy regulator to resign over the suspensions. "They should end (Laurie) Pushor's contract," Rachel Notley said Monday. "We've gone from having a world-class monitoring agency and we've turned it into a backroom, deal-making agency in the course of just a few months.

Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd said on Monday she has also told the Alberta Energy Regulator to beef up oversight of energy companies’ The deal-making has flourished since oil prices crashed in 2014, aggravating concerns over unfunded liabilities as a string of corporate bankruptcies

A recent court decision in Alberta , the Redwater Energy case, ruled that in the case of a bankruptcy, energy companies must use their remaining assets to pay back Wilson thinks that a change in the federal bankruptcy law is in order to fix the problem, so that environmental cleanup is made a priority.

The two companies agreed to the deal last summer. It involves 284 wells, 66 facilities and 82 pipelines in the southern Alberta foothills.

It came shortly after the regulator had promised a closer eye on such licence transfers to ensure purchasers are able to cover reclamation costs. At the time, Pieridae's market value was less than the price of the Shell assets and its stock value was less than a dollar.

The number of energy facilities left unreclaimed by struggling producers has boomed in recent years. As of May 14, Alberta alone had more than 10,000 unreclaimed wells, pipelines, facilities and sites. 

In April, the federal government pledged $1.7 billion for such so-called orphan wells in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, although they are supposed to be reclaimed by an industry-funded group.

The energy regulator said the two companies were free to restructure their deal and try again to get the licence transfers approved.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2020.

— By Bob Weber in Edmonton. Follow him on Twitter at @row1960.

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The Canadian Press

Alberta reinstating environmental monitoring in industry, oilpatch on July 15 .
EDMONTON — Alberta industries, including the oilpatch, will resume environmental monitoring and reporting in three weeks. The Alberta government and its energy regulator have each issued orders for reporting to resume on July 15. Testing and reporting had been suspended earlier this spring due to health and staffing concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Environmental critics and the Opposition NDP had been demanding the government reinstate the monitoring, questioning why it was shut down while other energy operations were deemed essential and allowed to continue.

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