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January 2024


When closure work (decommissioning, environmental site assessment, remediation, and reclamation) is completed, industry reports the costs to the AER. We have collected industry closure spend data through the voluntary area-based closure (ABC) program from 2019 through 2021, and we continue to collect this data through the new industry-wide closure spend requirement in 2022. See below for links to these highlight reports.

In 2022, as part of the inventory reduction program, the industry-wide closure spend requirement was set at $422 million. There are three ways in which licensees achieve compliance with the mandatory closure spend quotas:

  • They spend sufficient money to meet or exceed the quota.
  • They opt to provide security in lieu of closure spend (available to licensees with spend quota of less than $50K).
  • They provide security for the difference between their mandatory closure spend quota and their closure spend reported.

Industry reported eligible spending of $696 million, exceeding the requirement by 65%. A further $185 million in closure work was completed by the industry-funded Orphan Well Association and an estimated $383 million in funding came from the Government of Alberta’s Site Rehabilitation Program grants.

In total, over $1.2 billion was spent on closure work in 2022.

Figure 7. Total closure spend and future industry-wide spend requirements, 2019–2023

Figure 7. Total closure spend and future industry-wide spend requirement

In 2022, licensees primarily focused closure on decommissioning work (56% of reported closure dollars). Licensees spent $63 million on environmental site assessments, $145 million on remediation, and $255 million on reclamation activities.

Figure 8. Closure spend by closure activity, 2022

Figure 8. Closure spend by closure activity

For the 2022 mandatory closure spend quota, 90% of licensees were compliant. There were 51 noncompliant licensees with an outstanding amount of $4.2 million in missed quotas (1% of industry-wide closure spend requirement).

Table 1. Licensee Closure Quota Compliance 2022


  1. Definitions of compliance are available in Manual 023. If a company does not reach its closure quota via closure work or security payment, they are deemed noncompliant.
  2. Only licensees receiving a 2022 quota appear in this table.
  3. Licensees with 0% of quota met and closure spend breakdowns is due to SRP funding they received. SRP funding does not count towards licensees’ mandatory closure spend quotas.
  4. Data as of December 5, 2023.