Support journalism that lights the way through the climate crisis

Goal: $100k
$11,845

CALGARY — An embattled Calgary energy company is fighting the provincial regulator's decision to seize thousands of its inactive wells.

AlphaBow Energy has complained to the Alberta ombudsman and the province's information and privacy commissioner over the Alberta Energy Regulator transferring control of more than 6,000 wells, pipeline segments and other facilities to the Orphan Well Association.

Earlier this month, the regulator barred AlphaBow employees from attending any of those sites without approval from the association.

AlphaBow has had a long list of regulatory problems and field inspections in August found only 42 per cent of sites were satisfactory.

But AlphaBow maintains it exceeds industry averages on reclamation spending.

It says the regulator's decision will result in increased greenhouse gas emissions and prevent it from paying the municipal taxes it owes.

AlphaBow also says the regulator has made information about the company public that should have remained private.

“The Alberta government and the Alberta ombudsman must intervene immediately to assess the situation impartially,” said AlphaBow CEO Ben Li.

“Every day that passes further harms AlphaBow and its employees, thus increasing the possibility that municipalities and surface landowners will never recoup the money owed to them.”

Alberta energy regulator seizes thousands of inactive wells against company's wishes. #abpoli #oil

Privately held AlphaBow was created after the 2018 collapse of Calgary-based Sequoia Resources, which also resulted in several energy facilities being transferred to the Orphan Well Fund.

AlphaBow’s entire environmental liability is estimated at $154 million.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2023.

The Canadian Press

Keep reading

I think there's quite a bit here I don't understand. These inactive wells, are they good for anything? Why does the company want to keep them? Isn't taking them off the company's hands and making cleanup officially the government's problem doing them a favour? So is this just crocodile "don't throw me in that briar patch" tears?
Or, do they count as assets in some way, that lets the company borrow money so they can do leveraged investments? What's going on?