With a growing inventory of inactive and orphan wellsites, cleaning up legacy assets has become a priority for industry, government, and various stakeholder groups. All groups share the goal of wanting sites reclaimed for maximum ecological, economic and social benefit.
Recently both the federal government and Alberta governments have announced funding to reclaim legacy assets, adding urgency to this effort.
In late 2019, the Clean Resources Innovation Network (CRIN) held a workshop focused on emerging technologies and digital technologies to support stakeholders in efficient and timely asset retirement.
CRIN is receiving a federal Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) grant, which will be available to leverage project applications in the 2020-2025 timeframe. The workshop findings and recommendations will be used to inform potential funding and project scoping for the SIF grant, ensuring the funding supports desired outcomes related to asset retirement and land management.
Feedback from the workshop highlighted a need to ‘change the brand’ of asset retirement from connotations of spending, frustration and pain, to a positive message of environmental, social and governance (ESG) opportunities; technology and skills export potential; and business innovation and opportunity.
These potential benefits of asset retirement beyond liability reduction and ecological restoration need to be more clearly demonstrated, they added.
This report outlines challenges to lowering the costs and speeding the asset retirement process, along with potential projects to meet these challenges.