SVS and Mikisew Advisian release eBook: Orphan Well Rehabilitation on Reserve Lands and Traditional Territories

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Wondering how to make sense of well site rehabilitation programs? This eBook is
for you! Shared Value Solutions and Mikisew 
Advisian Environmental have teamed up to produce this best practice guide for decision-makers. 

From the intro:

"This eBook is designed for decision-makers navigating the process – from the ongoing environmental monitoring of sites of concern, to the head-shaking complexity of the site nomination process, through to their closure and reclamation. It includes recognized industry best practices that, if the companies involved follow, will produce results that align with your community’s expectations. We hope you find the information in this eBook useful in communicating your expectations – and, if things are going sideways, help you to provide clarity to operators and other industry proponents on best practices."

The issue of tens of thousands of orphan well sites across western Canada is not new. If you are living with orphan well sites on your reserve lands or territory, you are likely aware of the ways those sites have affected the surrounding environment, and pose a potential health and safety risk to the citizens of your community. What is new is the infusion of $1.7 billion of federal funding into provincially administered site rehabilitation programs in the middle of this COVID-clouded spring.

 

What we've heard from Indigenous Nations

What we’ve heard from Indigenous Nations in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Colombia - as well as the North West Territories and the Yukon where the new federal funding won't reach orphaned wells - is a deep concern that none of this funding has been set aside to clean up orphan well sites on reserve lands or sites of interest to your community. There is also concern that the federal government’s own commitment of a minimum 5% procurement from Indigenous businesses is not being considered in the allocation of federal funds to oilfield service operators. In a June 28 CBC article, Stephen Buffalo, president of the Indian Resource Council, reports that none of the money dispersed by the provinces so far has been directed towards remediating wells on First Nations land. However, with 3000 companies applying to remediate close to 37,000 wells in the first month of the program, including some Indigenous companies, chances are good that sooner or later this work will be coming to an orphan well near you.

 

Setting Expectations

When that time comes and a company arrives to remediate and reclaim an orphaned oil and gas well site on your territory, your Nation might view the process with a mix of anticipation and concern. If you have lived with sites that are contaminating the soil, water and/or air, you’ll want to know that these ongoing issues are properly dealt with by everyone involved. You will also likely have ideas and suggestions for ways your land can be restored and healed and how you’ll want to be involved in this process.

 

This eBook includes recognized industry and consultation best practices that, if the companies involved follow them, will reduce environmental and human health risks and should lead to a meaningful consultation and involvement process for your Nation. We hope you find the information in this eBook useful in communicating your expectations – and, if things are going sideways, help you to provide clarity to operators and other industry proponents on best practices.

 

“Tear-out” Primer for Industry

Good operators will minimize the footprint of disturbance and any impacts to the environment, and are open to incorporating your input as the site is returned to a natural condition. Good operators will also understand the importance of establishing respectful and productive working relationships with those whose land they are on. For those operators new to working with Indigenous Nations, we have included a “tear-out” primer you can use to help bring them up to speed. 

 

Basic Inventory of Indigenous Businesses Who Can Help!

In our research for this eBook, it was abundantly clear that Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs have ample capacity to take on this important work. In the resources section you’ll find a list of Indigenous-owned oilfield service companies with capabilities in this area – some of whom have kindly reviewed this eBook’s contents. We are delighted to report that one such company, Mikisew Advisian Environmental, decided to contribute a whole section to this eBook (starting page 24). We are determined to connect Indigenous communities with Indigenous business so If your company is not currently featured on this list, contact us so we can include you too.

 

Supporting Indigenous Businesses

We strongly support the Indian Resource Council's (IRC) call for the provinces to each allocate 10% of the funding they receive to Indigenous Nations – or about $150 million. That money would go a long way in building relationships and ensuring the long-term viability of Indigenous oilfield service companies in western Canada. If provinces fail to act on this, they will miss a significant opportunity to support the Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs that we know to be an asset to the wider economy as it struggles to emerge from the pandemic gloom. Until the provinces get on board, non-Indigenous operators working on Indigenous lands are encouraged to do their part by creating opportunities for business-to-business cooperation and including Indigenous vendors in their work plans – and we’ve included ideas and suggestions in the tear-out primer of how to do that.

 

What's in it:
  • Foreword by JP Gladu, Former President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, owner of Mokwateh
  • Best Practices on Rights-Holder Lands: Working with Abandoned or Orphaned Oil and Gas Well Sites on Reserve Lands and Traditional Territories
  • Monitoring Abandoned or Orphaned Oil and Gas Well Sites
  • Nominating Abandoned or Orphaned Oil and Gas Well Sites for Rehabilitation
  • Best Practices: Participating in Well Site Closure (Remediation and Reclamation)
  • A Deep Dive with MAE: Site Characterization: Are Soil or Groundwater Pollutants Present?
  • Best Practices for Non-Indigenous Operators Working on Traditional Territories and Reserve Lands
  • Checklist for Operators
  • Resources, Including Basic Inventory of Indigenous Businesses
As we’ve said before, when Indigenous businesses thrive, everyone wins. And when the land is healed, every living thing wins!

Download eBook: Orphan Well Remediation

 

About Us: Shared Value Solutions

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We are a Canadian B Corp, and we assist Indigenous communities with support throughout regulatory processes surrounding major development projects like mines, hydroelectric facilities, transmission lines, highway expansions, oil and gas pipelines, natural resource transport applications and nuclear power. 

 

We have deep context and experience behind the recommendations we provide, having worked for our clients on almost every major project in Canada for over 10 years. For us, it’s all about building long-term relationships with our clients. We want to get to know you and what you want to do so we can help you move your plans forward. 

About Mikisew Advisian EnvironmentalMikisew-Advisian-Environmental_LOGO_COL-POS-RGB

Mikisew Advisian Environmental (MAE) is a partnership that is majority owned by the Mikisew Cree First Nation through the Mikisew Group of Companies. It provides world class environmental services that incorporate traditional knowledge and values into program designs and scopes, while providing career opportunities for Indigenous people via the establishment of education-to-employment programs and leadership opportunities.

Focus areas of the partnership include:, Decommissioning & Restoration, Water, Geoscience, and Environment & Society. Other services that are offered include Power & New Energy, Transportation, Project Development & Technology, and Management Consulting.

 

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