Two inspectors for the more than 700 abandoned wells

News 13 March, 2018
  • Photo courtesy
    Citizen groups of hunters wells were located and inspected more oil and gas than any of the professional inspectors of the ministry of Energy and natural Resources of Quebec.

    Anne Caroline Desplanques

    Tuesday, 13 march 2018, 01:00

    Tuesday, 13 march 2018, 01:00

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    Only three inspectors from the ministry of Energy and natural Resources, one of which is off work, and are intended for the inspection of approximately 700 oil wells and gas abandoned unattended anywhere in Quebec.

    “There are citizens and citizens who may be impacted by this, groundwater may be contaminated. It is completely insane and unacceptable, ” growls Christian Daigle, the chairman of the public service Union of Quebec (SFPQ).

    More than 950 oil wells or gas have been drilled in Quebec since 1860, by private companies. Some 700 have been abandoned over the years, the responsibility of the provincial government.

    Most have never been inspected while they are in densely populated areas, sometimes even under buildings, as is the case in the city centre of Montreal, at the corner of the avenue the Lincoln and Fort street.

    Photo courtesy

    Then oil dropped located and inspected by a squad of the citizens.

    To overcome the lack of workforce, the ministry of Energy and natural Resources (MERN) use of sub-contracting.

    In two internal notes obtained by The Newspaper, the ministry explained to the union have the expertise to manage the wells are inactive, but ” not the staff and resources required to handle the overload of work, non-recurring “.

    But “we know that this is not a specific need, but recurring,” says Mr. Daigle.

    Up to “six years” to inspect

    “In recent months, 300 water wells have been identified and a good part inspected. The objective is to inspect the 450 wells remaining by the end of the year, ” said the spokesman of the MERN, Nicolas Bégin.

    But in November 2016, the deputy minister of Energy, Luce Asselin, has indicated in a parliamentary commission that it will take between five and six years to locate and inspect all of the wells in the province.

    To achieve this, the department has issued two calls for bids “to obtain the services of resources external in terms of the wells are inactive,” said Dr. Bégin.


    The outsourcing risk of depriving the citizens of information on the state of the wells, since the sub-contractors may be governed by confidentiality clauses, feared Manon Massé of Québec solidaire.

    Mr. Bégin ensures that his department is ” very transparent in regard to the follow-up, since the reports are public.”

    Ms. Massé, however, reminds that the MERN has outsourced the localization of a hundred wells to the Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique, and that the report that has been produced has never been made public.

    The other members of the opposition were not available to respond to the Newspaper yesterday.

    In Montreal and Laval, 12 wells in which gas shows have been detected are without supervision, according to the ministry.