(Recasts to reflect incident was first of its kind)
CALGARY, Alberta, March 21 (Reuters) - A Canadian court has placed the privately held Lexin Resources Ltd oil company in receivership to sell off its assets after an unprecedented application by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), the agency said on Tuesday.
The AER’s statement came weeks after the agency suspended licenses on all of the company’s facilities.
The AER has said Lexin had failed to comply with multiple orders, lacked enough staff to manage its more than 1,600 sites and owed more than C$70 million ($52.43 million).
Lexin could not be reached for comment. A recording at a number listed for the company said the line had been disconnected.
Receivership means the 1,380 oil wells belonging to Lexin could join the more than 1,500 others in Alberta that do not have legal owners.
Such “orphan” wells are the responsibility of the provinces, and their numbers have swelled since bankruptcies swept crude-producing Alberta province following the 2014 crash in the price of oil.
In the past, the Alberta government has said it could ask the federal government for help in covering costs.
$1 = 1.3350 Canadian dollars Reporting by Ethan Lou in Calgary, Alberta; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Sandra Maler