STRATHMORE, AB (December 16, 2013): Today, Wildrose Energy Critic Jason Hale called on Energy Minister Diana McQueen to intervene in the Alberta Energy Regulator’s Licensee Liability Rating program to ensure junior oil and gas producers are not needlessly forced into bankruptcy. In a letter to McQueen, Hale requested the government revisit the LLR program to take into account the concerns brought forward by junior producers struggling to meet the heavy financial burdens of changes to the program.
“Orphaned and unreclaimed wells is an issue that is preventing landowners and municipalities from reaping the full reward of land and could leave taxpayers with excessive environmental liability. Forcing producers to abandon productive wells and charging unrealistic fees will not solve the problem however,” Hale said. “This program needs to be adjusted so the regulator does not needlessly increase the number of abandoned wells. The AER and PC government need to find real solutions to this problem which they have let fester for decades.” Hale urged McQueen to slow down implementation of the program and to find a way to permit producers to meet the requirements of the program by revising the payment schedules and not forcing the abandonment of productive wells. “While the government is trying to make up for the years this program was not enforced by the ERCB, the sudden implementation has left producers scrambling. The minister must intervene, ease off the accelerator, and give our producers a chance to survive and thrive,” Hale said. “These companies care about the environment and want to work to find a solution. So far, their concerns have not been addressed.”