The number of abandoned oil wells in the RMWB is slowly rising.
In a release from Alberta Energy Regulators, nearly 900 rigs were deserted over the last three years, making the total number of abandoned wells in the region sitting at around 18,000.
The abandoned rigs are a sign of many operations going into bankruptcy with the drop in the commodity. Leaving a large number of landowners with derelict wells on their property, and taxpayers footing the bill to pay for the land until sites can be returned to their natural state.
Between 2015 and 2016, The Orphan Well Association, an industry-funded organization responsible for cleaning up old wells, was able to reclaim 61 rigs but has been struggling to keep up with the demand.
Despite the influx, the association says it is committed to the clean-up program and will work on remediation for each site with safety concerns being their top priority.
Last fall, the Alberta Government said it would consider a loan to the Orphan Wells Association to fast track clean up and put more people back to work.
-Photo courtesy of Orphan Well Association website