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Restoring the Land

Picture a parcel of land dotted with oil and gas wells and facilities. Now imagine it returned to its former state, full of trees, native plants and wildlife. The work required to bring the land back to its previous condition is known as "restoration" and is a requirement in B.C. When a company applies for an oil and gas activity permit, they must plan for this eventual restoration before starting their project--and provide, in advance, a deposit to cover the restoration costs.

Orphan site near Farmington, B.C. - Before and After

Slide the blue bar to see how this site changed between Fall 2019 and Spring 2021.

After - Spring 2021
Before - Fall 2019

Restoring a site is a multi-step process starting with safely deactivating well sites, pipelines and facilities.

A site is considered inactive when 12 consecutive months pass with no activity on-site but the site has not yet been permanently shut down (abandoned). The vast majority of inactive sites are owned and operated by viable operators.

In cases where the owner of an inactive site goes bankrupt or can't be located, the site is designated an "orphan". An orphan designation provides assurance the site is under our control and will be restored to current standards and requirements.

There are three types of inactive sites: Dormant sites, Orphan sites and Legacy sites

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Infographic: An overview of BCER restoration programs
Restored Site
Orphan Sites

Learn more about orphan site restoration and progress.

Peace water damage
Dormant Sites

Learn how we're accelerating the restoration of these sites.

Our 10 Year Goal

We've been working hard to accelerate the restoration of orphan sites in B.C. and we're aiming to complete restoration work within 10 years of an orphan's designation.

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Returning an orphan site to its pre-activity state is a process that can take multiple years to complete.

Almost 20 per cent of the Orphan Program was directed to Indigenous owned companies in 2022-23

Together, these projects create meaningful community engagement opportunities between the BCER and Indigenous nations.

The Final Step

Reclamation is the final step of site restoration. This two-step process requires the permit holder to complete a professional environmental assessment and, if necessary, address potential contamination issues. Part two requires professional assessment of the surface reclamation to ensure site productivity has been adequately restored. If a well or facility is designated as an orphan, the Orphan Site Reclamation Fund is used to carry out all steps of clean-up and closure.

Once fully restored, we will issue a Certificate of Restoration (CoR) confirming the restoration process has been completed to the appropriate standards.

Learn More:

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Orphan Site Restoration: Del Rio - Video

We've made significant progress reclaiming orphan oil and gas sites in Northeast B.C.

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Orphan Site Restoration - Video

We've been busy! See the progress we've made.

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Orphan Site Restoration - Fact Sheet

Learn more about the steps taken during the restoration process.

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