CALGARY, Alberta, March 22 The oil-rich Canadian
province of Alberta has obtained federal aid to help clean up
the rising number of oil wells whose owners have gone bankrupt,
the province's premier said after the release of the federal
budget on Wednesday.
The budget allocated C$30 million to Alberta to stimulate
economic activity and employment in the resource sector, which
Premier Rachel Notley said will be used to clean up the
so-called "orphan" wells that are normally a provincial
The number of so-called orphan wells in Canada spiked after
the 2014 oil price crash as layoffs swept the oil patch and
companies went bankrupt. Alberta, which produces about 80
percent of Canada's crude, had more than 1,500 orphan wells last
month, up from 26 in 2012.
Federal help would speed up the clean up of the old wells,
which can contaminate soil and affect animal and human health.
It would also grant jobs to some of the tens of thousands laid
off oil workers.
It is yet unclear how or over what period the C$30 million
will be used.
"We'll have more details to roll out in the days to come,
but generally speaking, yes, the idea was to focus on orphan
well reclamation," Notley said of the federal funds in a news
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said it
welcomed the move.
(Reporting by Ethan Lou in Calgary, Alberta; Editing by Bernard