Authors: Marla Orenstein, Canada West Foundation and Juli Rohl, Energy Futures Lab

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Executive Summary

This document presents a set of recommendations to the Alberta government that have come out of the LEAD (Leveraging our Energy Assets for Diversification) project.The LEAD project is intended to clear roadblocks to allow entrepreneurs to utilize existing oil and gas infrastructure and sites for new development, attract investment to Alberta for these developments, protect landowners and create an alternate path for aging oil and gas assets and liabilities.

These efforts are not about avoiding environmental commitments, but about safely repurposing well sites to provide benefits to landowners, local communities and the public. At its core, the LEAD project aims to make redevelopment and the reuse of previously disturbed and brownfield oil and gas sites and infrastructure more desirable than greenfield development and more desirable than delaying closure of those sites.This report captures the thinking and recommendations that have resulted from a five-month intensive collaborative process among contributors from the oil & gas industry, new energy ventures, landowners, law firms, energy investment firms, environmental remediation companies and others.

This report puts forward a short but impactful draft bill that will help the Alberta government signal that solving this problem is a priority, that new energy entrepreneurship is welcome, and that the regulators have the mandate to cooperate, coordinate and innovate as necessary. The report also presents an explanation of the specific issues that are causing problems, and some possible approaches to solving them.

The process approach described in this document represents a relatively easy win for all stakeholders and—at the same time—a way to cut red tape. And repurposing inactive oil & gas sites for new energy lives will create jobs, help diversify the energy sector, create new economic opportunities for landowners, and ease taxpayer burden around site liability.