The Saskatchewan government will be launching a new program to get people back to work in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Accelerated Site Closure Program (ASCP) is a reclamation project aimed at abandoned and inactive oil and gas wells and facilities throughout the province.

The ASCP will have access to up to $400 million over the next two years through Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

The program will be overseen by the Ministry of Energy and Resources and delivered through a partnership with the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC). According to the province, the program will deal with 8,000 inactive facilities and wells, creating 2,100 full time jobs.

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“We have worked hard to develop a common sense, administratively simple program that creates much-needed jobs in the struggling oil and gas sector,” Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre stated.

“The ASCP will accelerate the retirement of wells and facilities, which have reached the end of their life cycle, and complete a substantial amount of environmentally important work in a short period of time. For that, we would like to acknowledge the support of the federal government.”

The program is being rolled out in a number of phases. The first phase will allocate $100,000 in funding to service companies working on the wells.

Eligible operators can nominate inactive wells and facilities for the program through the Integrated Resource Information System. The SRC will provide direct funding for those accepted into the program, which includes an initial advance to service companies for abandonment and reclamation work. 

President and CEO of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors Mark Scholz was pleased with the announcement, taking the time to thank the government of Saskatchewan.

“We are excited by the prospect of long-term jobs for CAODC members who have been struggling to keep their employees working and their businesses viable.”

More information about the ASCP can be found on the government of Saskatchewan’s website.