Oct. 11, 2023
Publication News | A Made-in-Alberta Failure: Unfunded Oil and Gas Closure Liability
Co-authored by Professors Shaun Fluker and Martin Olszynski, and alumnus Drew Yewchuk, JD'17, "A Made-in-Alberta Failure: Unfunded Oil and Gas Closure Liability" explores Alberta's new Liability Management Framework which include mandatory spending to reduce the inactive inventory, assessment of licensee risk and capacity, and an orphan program. According to the authors, under the new framework, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) will not disclose financial information on licensees or even the general state of the oil and gas industry. The new framework also still relies heavily on AER discretion to trigger closure obligations and fails to legislate timelines or quotas for closure work. Provisions for external scrutiny are minimal, impeding meaningful democratic oversight. Finally, the framework perpetuates historic industry influence in its design and implementation, which to date has resulted in a singular focus on minimizing industry’s costs at the expense of reducing environmental risks and protecting the public purse.