Understanding the Orphan Process
When a company holding permits on wells, pipelines or facilities is no longer able to pay debt owing, the BC Oil and Gas Commission may designate their sites as orphan sites. The first step taken by the BC Oil and Gas Commission is to ensure the orphan sites are safe.
An Orphan Site Reclamation Fund is in place to cover costs of restoring orphan sites and compensating landowners for the loss of land use. Landowners can access these funds by submitting an application to the BC Oil and Gas Commission. Section 29 of the Oil and Gas Activities Act General Regulation (under OGAA) outlines the information required of a landowner when submitting the application.
If a landowner has already submitted a claim for compensation to the Surface Rights Board (SRB), the BC Oil and Gas Commission will collaborate with the SRB regarding documentation and information already submitted. A landowner who has not yet applied for compensation may apply directly to the BC Oil and Gas Commission for overdue rental payments on a site designated as an orphan.
Landowners who have an orphan site located on their property are not responsible for managing or maintaining it. If landowners experience issues related to an orphan site, such as weed control or erosion, they should contact the Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Commission will maintain contact with landowners as work is carried out and future inspections undertaken to establish the ongoing safety of the site, and to address any maintenance needs.
Take a look at this time lapse video of an orphan site being reclaimed.