A Supreme Court of Canada ruling that bankrupt oil and gas companies must clean up their abandoned wells before paying creditors might sound like good news, but it doesn’t solve a growing crisis in Western Canada’s aging oil patch. Just how will an increasingly indebted industry, hobbled by low energy prices and rising costs, find the up to $260 billion needed to clean up its inactive pipelines, wells, plants and oilsands mines as it enters its sunset years? To date permissive provincial regulations have created the problem by only requiring industry to set aside $1.6 billion for the job. That potentially leaves more than $200 billion in unfunded liabilities for taxpayers. Technically the 5-2 court decision will make it easier for provinces to prevent insolvent companies from selling assets to pay creditors while dumping the cleanup bill onto taxpayers. That’s been a big problem in Western Canada, where lower […]