With oil prices in the gutter and its last boom a faded memory, the cleanup of inactive or orphan oil and gas wells has become a political concern in Alberta. The province has 91,000 inactive wells of varying age.
In January of this year, the Rural Municipalities of Alberta revealed energy companies owe a total of $173 million in unpaid municipal property taxes on wellsites. This added to the growing frustration of rural landowners over rental payment problems. Some have received requests from oil and gas companies to cut payments, while others have had compensation reduced by up to 50 per cent or halted completely without notice.