Alberta and the federal government say another $400 million in funding is available to help clean up inactive oil and gas sites in the province.
The province announced two rounds of funding Friday, including $100 million for First Nation and Métis settlements, as well as $300 million to oil and gas producers who paid for closure work in 2019 and 2020.
In total, the program is expected to generate almost 5,300 direct jobs and lead to indirect employment – and economic benefits across the province.
“The Site Rehabilitation Program is cleaning up legacy oil and gas sites across the province and creating thousands of much-needed jobs,” said Minister of Energy Sonya Savage in a press conference Friday.
“As stewards of the land, this funding will ensure that Indigenous people benefit from resource development on land that was first inhabited by their ancestors.”
The cash is part of SRP – a federally funded site rehabilitation program announced last May to direct up to $1 billion toward reclamation projects in Alberta.
As of Feb. 12, $310.3 million of grant funding has been allocated to 633 Alberta companies.
The $100 million allocated for Indigenous site clean up includes $85 million for First Nations reserves and $15 million for Métis Settlements to work with licensees to close sites located on or around their lands.
“The SRP Indigenous set aside will allow Alberta First Nations and Métis Settlements to reduce liabilities by decommissioning and cleaning up well sites across Alberta,” said Chief Greg Desjarlais of Frog Lake First Nations.
“During this time, First Nations-owned companies and member-owned companies, along with existing and new partnership creations, can get working to create gainful employment in a difficult period as this pandemic and downturn of the oil industry has caused hardships for many.”
Contractors have until the end of 2022 to complete the work.
“Closure work creates jobs and positive environmental outcomes that enhance Alberta’s ESG record and provides valuable economic benefits to rural communities,” said Elizabeth Aquin, interim president and CEO of Petroleum Services Association of Canada.
With files from The Canadian Press