Is the Number of Alberta “Orphan” Wells Growing?

Yes, the number of Alberta “Orphan” Wells has grown by 820 between March 2016 to Feb 8, 2017.

Fuzeium has been looking at the “Orphan” Well Lists published periodically by the Orphan Well Association (OWA)  and has been tracking the changes over time.   From the graph below, one can see the yellow bar starts with 1,467 Orphans to Abandon and to Reclaim, which is then followed by increases and decreases until netting out at 2,287.

Changes to List of Alberta Orphan Wells Over Time

In quoting the number for Orphan Wells,  we recommend using phrases like, “it was about, or it was approximately, 2,200 at the beginning of February 2017.

Definition and Interpretation:  

  • “Orphan Wells” are wells associated with Defunct Companies, which  “are licensees that are deemed defaulting working interest participants by the AER pursuant to Section 70(2)(b)(iii) of the Oil and Gas Conservation Act.”
  • The OWA provide updates to their data about once a quarter.
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To see numerous other dashboards on the subject, please see this link.