Lexpert Special Editions

Special Edition on Energy 2017

The Lexpert Special Editions profiles selected Lexpert-ranked lawyers whose focus is in Corporate, Infrastructure, Energy and Litigation law and relevant practices. It also includes feature articles on legal aspects of Canadian business issues.

Issue link: http://digital.carswellmedia.com/i/888237

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Page 9 of 39

10 LEXPERT | 2017 | WWW.LEXPERT.CA PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK When oil wells are abandoned and environmental remediation work needs to be conducted, where does this responsibility lie in the case of an insolvent operator? is question, watched with intense interest by domestic and international investors, lenders, regulators and politi- cians, as well as the energy industry at large, achieved more clarity ear- lier this year. According to Janice Buckingham, a partner with Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Calgary, the decision of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench in regard to bankrupt Redwater Energy (Re), 2016 ABQB 278 "established that a trustee in bankruptcy can disclaim an insolvent debtor's uneconomic oil and gas properties while retaining and selling its valuable assets to maximize recovery for secured creditors." e decision in Redwater, a publicly listed junior oil and gas pro- ducer in Alberta, says Buckingham, clarified what happens when the mandate of provincial oil and gas regulators such as the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) comes into conflict with principles within the federal Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. As such, says Buckingham, "certain provisions of Alberta's regula- tory regime that require a trustee to satisfy abandonment and remedia- tion of an insolvent debtor's oil and gas wells in priority to the claims of ORPHAN WELLS The decision in Redwater shifts responsibility for environmental clean-up away from insolvent energy companies and towards the public and industry. But it remains to be seen who will ultimately pay By Bev Cline Who Pays?

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