Edmonton, AB (May 20, 2016): Dr. David Swann is very troubled by yesterday’s court decision allowing Redwater Energy to sell off its assets before cleaning up its wells.
“This decision has serious implications for the environment,” said Swann. “If insolvent oil companies use their assets to pay off their creditors instead of cleaning up their old, non-producing wells, we will be left with hundreds more abandoned wells across the province.
“Two things are happening,” continued Swann. “First, oil companies in financial difficulty now have the ability to treat their non-producing wells as an afterthought.
“Second, the court is telling creditors they don’t have to take environmental practices into consideration when lending money – the cost of clean-up becomes irrelevant.
“In both cases, the public is left to pick up the cost of remediation.”
“While it is true Alberta has an orphan well fund in the event an oil company goes bankrupt,” Swann stated, “the economic downturn has stretched this fund to its very limit. There is no way the fund can keep up with the hundreds of additional abandoned wells which may happen as a result of this ruling.”
“This ruling clearly indicates the need for a change in regulation,” Swann concluded. “I will be contacting the Premier, the Attorney General and the Energy minister shortly in order to find a solution for this extremely important issue.”