Life Cycle of a Well

Every company that explores for and develops Canada’s oil and natural gas resources is financially responsible for safely managing each well it drills, as well as any associated facilities. This includes all stages of a well’s life cycle: exploration, development and operation, as well as end-of-life activities including abandonment and reclamation.

Body Environmental Action Land Liability Life Cycle of a Well

When an oil and natural gas site is no longer productive, the operating company is required by regulations to remove equipment and reclaim the site. Regulatory requirements are documented under government acts such as the Oil and Gas Conservation Act (OGCA) in Alberta and a host of technical regulations at the Alberta Energy Regulator.


Reclamation is the process of restoring the surface area of a well site, access road and related facilities to original conditions.



A well that is permanently shut down, is plugged, has the wellhead removed, and is considered safe and secure by regulations.


A well that is currently producing oil or natural gas.


A well that has not produced oil or natural gas in 12 months.


A well that is not currently producing, has been safely secured, but may produce in the future.


A well that no longer has an identifiable owner.

Reclamation Certified (Rec Cert)

Well sites that are remediated and reclaimed to the current regulatory standard.