AER’s new CEO Laurie Pushor farting spin to make landowners, counties, municipalities ripped off by oil & gas shut up?

One of the comments to the Globe article:

Mark Shore:

This is clearly an improvement, but something seems off.

The regulator hasn’t yet landed on a concrete number of how much energy companies must spend each year on clean-up activities, but Mr. Pushor said it will likely be around 4 to 5 per cent of the total value of their environmental labilities.

In a steady state, this would assume an average productive lifespan of a well of around 20 to 25 years. In a contracting industry where profits may rapidly turn to losses and assets to liabilities, this will potentially leave large stranded liabilities when companies shut down.

The oil and gas industry has long operated on a model of “prices are volatile and front-loading remediation costs makes many projects economically unfeasible, so trust us that we’ll pay up later.” But “later” is rarely now, and when things go sour the public is left with the bill. Which in Caveman Canada has always been and continues to be the intended plan for mining and oil and gas, not just when things go sour.


And bonus, there’s this bullshit: Pay to learn how to game the AER system? With none other than Mark Taylor, lying ex Encana manager, then VP AER doing the hanky panky with Chief AER hanky pankster Jim Ellis.


Alberta’s energy regulator overhauls liability management for oil and gas wells by Emma Graney, May 28, 2021, The Globe and Mail

Alberta’s energy regulator will soon Like maybe in 50 years or so, we’ll take action, long after the oil and gas industry has been killed by its lies, banks and investors. require oil companies to spend a specified amount each year on environmental clean-up activities.

In addition, should a company want to pick up new wells or secure the transfer of an asset, the cash it owes in property taxes and to landowners will play into whether or not such initiatives get the green light. Useless and way too late! Make the companies pay bonds, upfront, to be held in trust, for clean up, and to replace drinking water supplies, land and air, when (not if) companies pollute, and make companies pay bonds to all landowners that are forced to sign leases with the life-threatening lying polluters.

It’s part of an overhaul of Alberta’s liability management framework code word to let companies keep on doing their dirty without consequence for oil and gas wells. Part of that is the licence liability rating – a kind of credit score for energy companies that governs whether they receive approval to operate wells and other facilities in the province. Energy Minister Sonya Savage announced the sweeping changes almost a year ago, leaving the Alberta Energy Regulator to nail down the details.

Under the old rules, a company simply had to demonstrate to the AER that it had twice as many assets as liabilities on its books to gain regulatory approvals, thus proving it could cover the cost of cleanup when a well reached the end of its life. Even if it didn’t meet that criteria, it could apply for special dispensation.

But over the past five or six years…bankruptcies spread like wildfire through the oil patch, many companies simply dusted their hands of their cleanup responsibilities. They dumped sites onto the Orphan Well Association, which cleans up abandoned wells, and walked away. as was intended by companies, govt and regulator alike

AER chief executive Laurie Pushor told The Globe and Mail Thursday the new rating system will broaden the regulator’s ability to gather information and analyze the financial health of energy companies. That in turn will allow the AER to factor in more than just the value of what it assesses in determining whether a company – be it new or the result of a merger or acquisition – should be granted an operating licence. Most frac’ers operate under massive debt, AER knew and knows that. Still companies are granted liccence to do whatever they want, decade after decade. Encana was granted licence in half a day to frac under my already contaminated land, without any requirement to fix the aquifers the company had illegally frac’d 8 years earlier. Encana/Ovintiv frac’d a war of harms across Canada, and has now run away to the USA without fixing any of the damages. Think anything will improve with Laurie Pushor at the helm? All I expect from him is more massive deregulation.

The AER has already hired specific staff to bring more financial expertise in-house. And Mr. Pushor expects his team to be “awfully busy over the summer” collecting financial information, including outstanding tax bills and landowner payments, and other fiscal measures. Poor corrupt babies! AER management won’t be able to golf with CAPP ‘n company throughout the summer?

”How a company is treating the people closest to the land is a very good indicator, in our view, of how they are acting on the landscape,” he said.

The regulator hasn’t yet landed on a concrete number of how much energy companies must spend each year on clean-up activities, but Mr. Pushor said it will likely be around 4 to 5 per cent of the total value of their environmental labilities.

Alberta has been grappling for years with how to beef up its liability framework, and make sure oil and gas companies pay to clean up the messes they create. Not true. Alberta knows damn well how to fix the “problem” – which was intentionally created to hang the costs on the public. AER, govt, CAPP, and companies are sweating because they have failed at keeping their dirty laundry and massive corporate welfare handouts secret – that’s all they give a shit about – hiding how they con and abuse us.

But the regulator has also struggled with transparency and public trust – which wasn’t helped when three provincial watchdogs found that a former AER boss, Jim Ellis, set up a pricey side project that diverted resources, money and employee time from the agency while concealing many of the details from the board of directors.

Mr. Pushor, a long-time reportedly dirty Saskatchewan public servant, took the helm of AER in April, 2020.

At the time, he told The Globe he would focus on rebuilding confidence in an organization tarnished by scandal and, on Thursday, said the regulator’s leadership and organizational structure have been stabilized. Is it wise to believe a reportedly corrupt public servant?

“We have just asked the Auditor-General to come back and look at all of the changes we’ve made and the controls we’ve put in place,” he said.

The AER is also eyeing a website overhaul to make data and information more readily available to industry and the public.

“We’ve started to really work hard on being as transparent as we can roaring laughter! in the work we do, so that Albertans know what we’re doing and how the industry is performing, and they can evaluate whether we’re doing our jobs,” he said.

Although constrained somewhat by the pandemic, he said he has also been meeting virtually with environmental and non-government organizations, Indigenous groups, rural municipalities and industry associations.

“When you’re driving down the road and see an AER truck drive by, you should feel good. You should go, ‘Yeah, they’re on the job,’” he said. “That’s where we want to be.” OMG! Where’s the vomit bucket? AER owes us no duty of care, they lie – all – the – time, they violate our charter rights with courts enabling it. AER helps companies break the law, they let communities and families live in danger, they enable big polluters! What’s there to feel good about?

AER boss says more scrutiny ahead for unpaid oilpatch taxes, lease payments by Chris Varcoe, May 29, 2012, Calgary Herald

Alberta Energy Regulator CEO Laurie Pushor says the agency is not about to start collecting municipal property taxes or rent to landowners when it comes to unpaid bills by oil and natural gas producers.

That’s not the regulator’s mandate. That’s quite right. The only mandate AER has is anti-public interest, serving multinational law-violating polluters while abusing Albertans, wildlife, livestock, pets and the envionment.

However, for the first time, the AER is beginning to collect information from producers about unpaid municipal property taxes and landowner lease payments, two areas of mounting concern.

The regulator is also taking steps to ensure companies better manage the thousands of inactive and orphan wells scattered across the province….

“There’s been an ongoing awareness that something needs to give, and I can tell you that as an organization … we’re better equipped and would expect to but will make sure we do not see progress in this space,” Pushor said in an interview Thursday.

According to a University of Calgary report, the province has nearly 100,000 inactive oil and natural gas wells that haven’t been closed, with another 71,000 that have yet to be reclaimed — and more are coming.

Last July, the province announced initiatives to address mounting concerns about industry liability issues.

It includes establishing mandated five-year rolling spending targets for companies for well reclamation work, and putting a new system in place to gauge the financial capability of producers to make sure they do not have to meet their obligations.

“This is a robust program,” said Tristan Goodman, head of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada. “It will give clarity to producers and investors.” Translation: The program will make sure polluters get to continue doing what they want!

Industry groups support the changes, noting old wells left when a company fails can end up with the Alberta Orphan Well Association, a largely Canadian taxpayer n industry-funded group that has the responsibility to clean them up.with much of the money put into bonuses for rich lying oil patch CEOs and management instead of clean up.

“We have seen some failures, as there was some stress in our industry over the last five years,” said Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers vice-president Brad Herald, who is also chair of the Orphan Well Association. Conflict of interest?

“There are some reasonable improvements here that manage that risk.”

Time will tell just how effective the changes will be, but it is clear problems surrounding inactive and orphan wells have ballooned….

The OWA reports it had 2,689 orphan well sites on its decommissioning list as of May 1, compared to just 768 five years ago. There are another 4,943 sites awaiting reclamation today.

The federal government agreed last year to provide $1.7 billion to clean up orphan and abandoned wells across Western Canada, including $1 billion in Alberta.

That’s not the only pressure point the AER is trying to address.

Earlier this month, a study by the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy concluded the province “needs to develop stronger policies to ensure landowners are fairly compensated and well sites are cleaned up.”

It noted almost 55 per cent of inactive wells have been sitting idle for more than five years, with more than 5,000 inactive for at least two decades. Including when oil and gas prices were at their highest!

“The root cause of landowners being affected is these long-term inactive and unreclaimed oil and gas wells,” said report co-author Braeden Larson.

“It’s already a huge problem.”

In Alberta, landowners are required to lease the surface of their land for oil and gas development, and receive financial compensation through lease payments.

If the landowner doesn’t receive the fee, they can apply to the provincial Surface Rights Board for payments. Larson noted board payments increased almost 12-fold between 2014 and 2018.

Meanwhile, a survey by the Rural Municipalities of Alberta found unpaid bills from oil and gas companies have increased by 203 per cent since 2019, to about $245 million this year.

With changes made last month, the AER is now able to collect information about arrears in municipal property taxes and unpaid rent, which it will examine when assessing the financial capability of a producer.

“It’s not our role nor do we have a mandate to collect taxes,” said Pushor.

“We will use that information to inform our work, in terms of transferring licences or holding a company in good standing.”

So will it make any difference?

Regan Boychuk of the Alberta Liabilities Disclosure Project sees it as “window dressing” to fix the issue. “It’s not going to tip the scales or result in any enforcement,” he said.

However, the new measure is starting to have an impact, with some producers talking to local municipalities about setting up payment schedules, said RMA president Paul McLauchlin.

The decision by the regulator to collect such data is a “step in the right direction” to dealing with a growing issue, he said.

“It is not perfect, it doesn’t answer everything, but we are happy … this is a big deal to us.”

As for reducing the number of inactive wells, which haven’t produced for at least six months, one of the next steps will see the regulator set mandated spending levels for companies to clean up such old assets.

Starting next year, producers will be given targets on how much they must spend, in the range of four to five per cent of their inactive well environmental liabilities, Pushor said. More details will be unveiled later in the year.

“We will work to establish what their liability is, that will inform what four or five per cent represents, and then we will expect to see proper reporting,” he added.

University of Calgary economist Lucija Muehlenbachs, who has examined the inactive well issue, said spending targets are less rigid than creating firm timelines on when an inactive well must be cleaned up, a measure used in other jurisdictions.

“It sounds like a flexible regulation that at least starts the ball rolling on cleanups,” she said.

“It has the potential to clean up more wells at a lower cost.”

Refer also to:

AER picks next “Dickhead” (Pres & CEO): “Back Door” Laurie Pushor, reportedly scandle-corroded pisser on rules, conflict of interest old white man, was Alberta gov’t official under Ralph Klein, is Saskatchewan’s Deputy Minister Energy & Resources and on the Board of STEP, Sask Trade & ***Export*** Partnership

AER’s new “Dickhead” Laurie Pushor off to Kenney-wanna-be-Trump races: “No Duty of Care” AER abuses Covid-19 crisis to deregulate oilpatch and foothills coal mining. (Stephen Cousin’s sketch may offend some, but it’s too perfect not to add to this vulgar news.)

AER skulduggery escalates: Dave Goldie, Encana & Cenovus VP is new Chair (first was Encana & Cenovus VP Gerry Protti); Martin Foy, Encana crime-enabler, appointed Exec VP (remember AER exec VP, ex-Encana lying manager Mark Taylor?); Propagandizing Synergy Queen, Tracey McCrimmon & Encana crime-enabler Bev Yee appointed to the Board; Anti-science climate change denier, Steve Harper’s best buddy/compaign manager, Kenney’s Kamikazi campaign manager, John Weissenberger, made VP Technical Science & External Innovation Branch.

Where did AER’s Executive VP Mark Taylor go? He was Encana manager when the company illegally frac’d Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers, then lied about it to 200 concerned community members, promising Encana would only frac far below fresh water zones (same lie touted by frac’ers everywhere), after area water wells had already gone bad, and were being investigated by – of course – the criminal, with regulator and govt blessings.

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