$375,000 per well

$375,000 per well r1 ... View this e-mail in your browser. Our B.C. reporter Sarah Cox sure does have a nose for a story.

Even amongst stacks of boring receivership documents and pages upon pages of filings with a regulatory body, she’ll hone right in on the scandal.

That was certainly the case when Sarah learned about a giant, leaking frack water pond about 400 kilometres north of Fort St. John, in northeastern B.C.

B.C.’s Oil and Gas commission ordered a company called Predator to clean up that toxic mess but, despite 20 months passing, that order had not been followed.

It turns out Predator long ago sold its oil and gas properties to a Calgary-based company called Ranch, which has since gone into receivership.

Ranch left behind much more than a leaky wastewater pit. The company shrugged off 700 inactive oil and gas wells and a whole lotta debt (we’re talking millions).

In the course of her research, Sarah found that the story of Ranch’s insolvency isn’t a one-off. In fact there are hundreds of additional wells across B.C. that have been orphaned by delinquent corporations.

And guess who gets left with that ballooning liability? As Sarah found, the average cost to clean up a single inactive well site is $375,000. When you multiply that figure by all of B.C.’s lingering frack sites ... well, it ain’t pretty.

The estimated cost of clean up for the province’s inactive wells comes to a staggering $114 million, even before you add in the hundreds of wells left behind by Ranch.

Be sure to read Sarah’s deep dive into what she refers to as the gas industry’s version of a dine and dash.

As always, we have more in-depth, original and inspiring features for you this week. Read on.

Emma Gilchrist
Editor-in-chief, The Narwhal

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A recent ruling aims to curtail conflicts of interest and corporate greenwashing via ‘creative sentencing,’ a legal tool used by the courts to offset pollution and other environmental harms. Read more. Note from a Narwhal "Pleased to help such wonderful and talented environmental investigative journalists. Thank you for all you do in pursuit of the truth." — David in Kelowna

Oh geez, David. Thank you for helping us do what we do.

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The Narwhal's Coal Valley documentary was featured by The Tyee this week.

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