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List of Orphan Wells

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an Orphan?

In the upstream oil and gas industry, an orphan is a well, pipeline, facility or associated site which has been investigated and confirmed as not having any legally responsible or financially able party to deal with its abandonment and reclamation.

Who is the Orphan Well Association?

The Orphan Well Association or OWA is a not for profit organization unique to the province of Alberta which was created from the work of many genuinely concerned individuals from our oil and gas industry and from our provincial government.

The mandate of the OWA is to manage the abandonment of Alberta upstream oil and gas orphan wells, pipelines, facilities and the reclamation of their associated orphan sites.

The OWA operates under the delegated authority of the Alberta Energy Regulator or AER, the provincial regulator of the oil and gas industry. We sublease office space and computer services from the AER, and operate financially and legally separate from the AER.

The OWA prepares an annual report (available on our website under Reports tab) to provide information on our activities each year to all stakeholders including industry and the public

Who Funds the OWA's Activities?

The OWA operates under the direction of its Members who include the industry associations, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (EPAC), the AER and Alberta Environment and Parks (honorary non-voting). Industry funds the majority of the costs incurred by the OWA, mostly through an Orphan Fund Levy. The AER assesses and collects a levy amount based on the abandonment and reclamation liabilities held by each company and then remits the funds to the OWA.

Who Can I Call?

If you have any questions or concerns about possible orphans, please contact the AER Customer Contact Centre Toll Free 1-855-297-8311. The AER will first investigate possible orphans for responsible parties before designating properties (wells, pipelines, facilities or sites) as orphans. If you have questions about surface lease rentals, please contact the Alberta Surface Rights Board 780-427-2444, Toll Free through 310-0000 Rite Access.


If you would like further information about our organization, please feel free to contact:

Patricia Payne, P.Eng.
Manager, Orphan Well Association
Toll free during office hours 310-0000,
ask for AER switchboard (403) 297-8311,
ask for OWA or email:

c/o Alberta Energy Regulator
Suite 1000, 250 - 5th Street SW
AB, T2P 0R4
Phone: (403) 297-8555
Fax: (403) 297-8981

Associated Links