British Columbia’s Oil and Gas Commission announced it would postpone invoicing for cleaning up orphaned gas wells April 16, a day before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered relief for that issue.
Trudeau April 17 announced up to $1.72 billion, including funding to the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, and the Alberta Orphan Well Association, to clean up orphan and/or inactive oil and gas wells.
Trudeau called it a move creating thousands of jobs and having lasting environmental benefits.
The change was one of several the commission announced as COVID-19 crisis relief for the industry.
The commission also announced it would defer payment of the 2019-20 annual levy on pipelines under the Fee, Levy and Security Regulation, Part 4, section 23.2(1) and the Oil and Gas Activities Act.
The payment schedule has moved from 30 days to 90 days in light of the COVID-19 situation.
A letter about payment had been sent out and operators are being asked to disregard the 30-day deadline.
Additionally, Commissioner Paul Jeakins announced that, given the pandemic, the period for permit holders governed under the legislation to apply for permit extensions is suspended until the suspension is terminated or the provincial state of emergency ends.
The commissioner was given the authority to act under Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnsworth’s Ministerial Order 98/2020 “which enables a person, tribunal or other body that has a statutory power of decision to waive, suspend or extend a mandatory time period relating to the exercise of that power.”