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A race against the clock to decommission and investigate seven remote sites.

Tucked into a beautiful and very remote pocket of B.C. sits the Beaver River field. Located approximately 200km northwest of Fort Nelson and bordered by the Yukon and the Liard River, are seven orphan sites only accessible by boat/barge in the summer and an ice bridge in the winter.

All seven sites and wells in Beaver River were deactivated, downhole abandoned, decommissioned, and investigated during Fiscal 2020/21.

Barging equipment across the Liard River
Barging equipment across the Liard River.
Summer bridge repairs
Summer bridge repairs in Beaver River.

The execution of a remote multi-disciplinary restoration program and construction of a large-scale ice bridge is no small feat. Work started during the summer months with road and access inspections and permitting, and extensive road and bridge repair, and continued into the fall arranging resources, logistics and procedures for camp, communications, personnel, access, operations, and safety. Construction and maintenance of the ice bridge required ongoing collaboration between local service providers, engineering experts, and the multiple operators using it.

Ice bridge across the Liard River
Ice Bridge across the Liard River.


The ice bridge was 1.5 km long, took almost two months to build, and could hold an equipment load weighing 63,000kg – that’s almost as heavy as two humpback whales!

Tandem downhole abandonment of a multi well site
Tandem downhole abandonment of a multi-well site in Beaver River.

The program delivered some significant firsts and challenges for the Orphan Fund – we had two rigs simultaneously complete the downhole abandonment on side-by-side wells on a single lease, a temporary 45-person camp was set up, all while in a race against Mother Nature to complete the program before the weather left crews stranded on the wrong side of the river, and it was all during a worldwide pandemic.

Beaver investigation
Environmental investigation at a Beaver River site.
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