High oil and natural gas prices prompted the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) to more than double, to C$4.2 billion ($3.36 billion), its order to producers to close and safely seal inactive wells over the next five years.


“These increases ensure closure activity is prioritized by companies developing energy in Alberta,” said AER President Laurie Pushor. “We are taking action to stop the growth of closure liability” that would otherwise be inherited by provincial taxpayers.

The elevated cleanup budget replaces a C$2.4 billion ($1.8 billion) requirement that was set in 2021.

In the expanded five-year agenda, a C$700 million ($560 million) order for 2023 well closures is firm. The AER plan calls for annual increases of 9%. For 2024-2027, yearly cleanup spending targets of up...