Alberta Energy Regulator blocks sale of Shell Canada assets over cleanup concerns

Alberta’s energy regulator has cited clean-up concerns in blocking the sale of sour gas wells, pipelines and other facilities from an energy giant to a much smaller company.

In a decision released Thursday, the regulator said Calgary-based Pieridae Energy’s attempted purchase of the southern Alberta assets from Shell Canada goes against the intent of environmental laws.

The issue was seen as a test case of the regulator’s determination to avoid clean-up costs for energy facilities falling to the taxpayer.

In its written decision, the Alberta Energy Regulator said it wasn’t happy with how the deal would have split the liability for cleaning up the sites, especially at a pair of gas processing plants. The terms of the sale would have had Shell responsible for existing contamination and Pieridae on the hook for future problems.

“The scope and extent of the contamination at the site is not well known and is not well described in the applications,” the decision said. “To date, the contamination at the sites has not been fully understood.”

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