In Northeast British Columbia, approximately 10,000 oil and gas wells have become inactive for economical or technological reasons creating significant environmental liability for oil and gas producers. A large producer in the region retained Matrix to manage an area-based portfolio of inactive well sites and progress the sites from their current status through site screening, site investigation, remediation, Certificate of Restoration (COR) Part 1 application, forested and agricultural land restoration, post reclamation assessments, and COR Part 2 application. Matrix works on approximately 150 sites/year within this portfolio.
Matrix’s land reclamation and restoration team is comprised of a diverse breadth of professionals with local field experience including ecologists, biologists, agrologists, landowner agents, and field construction consultants. The experienced team collaborates to execute reclamation activities and overcome the unique challenges in this part of the province; to achieve the ultimate end goal of regulatory closure with an approved Certificate of Restoration.
On May 31, 2019 the BC Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) announced the Dormancy and Shutdown Regulation that imposes timelines for the restoration of inactive oil and gas wells in the province. Due to new timeline constraints, moving sites from their existing state to COR Part 2 completion in an efficient and timely manner has become increasingly important. Matrix has leveraged our experience and relationships working within the BC regulatory framework to reduce remediation volumes and therefore timelines for completion of sites using a variety of risk-based approaches. These include the development of site-specific standards, background datasets based on information from across the region, and varying degrees of conceptual site models to identify the specific potential receptors and exposure pathways for a site.
Once this stage is complete there are several additional challenges to overcome with the land reclamation. Northeast BC has a diverse landscape ranging from rangeland and crop production to upland and lowland boreal forest settings and wetlands. Reclamation and restoration can be complex in all of these settings, particularly for highly disturbed sites that have been inactive for decades. Moving these sites from primary succession to a trajectory of natural succession in forested and wetland settings involves a strong knowledge of the ecology of the area and a multifaceted and intense approach to reclamation. This ensures efficient and targeted reclamation of each site to meet the end land use objectives, including ensuring sites in agricultural areas have the capability to support multiple types of crops and livestock for years to come.
Matrix’s extensive experience working in the region and practical knowledge of regulatory standards has allowed for the application of risk-based approaches to assessment and remediation work, development of area-based standards for specific parameters, and modifications of more conservative generic standards. By using our portfolio management tool—called Matrix Approach to Rapid Closure (MARC)—we have improved coordination of projects, collaboration, and information sharing. MARC also incorporates automation of reporting across all investigation stages leading to substantial improvement in execution efficiency and the progression of a large number of sites to regulatory closure.
- Confidential Energy Producer
- Oil & Gas / Energy
- Assessment, Remediation and Reclamation
- 2019 – ongoing