May 3, 2019

Filing Type:

Company Counsel: Norton Rose Fulbright

Trustee: PwC

Trustee Counsel: Bennett Jones

Applicant: Alberta Energy Regulator's Orphan Well Association

Applicant Counsel: BLG



Trident Exploration, a Calgary, Alberta-based natural gas production company, was placed in receivership on May 3 on application by the Alberta Energy Regulator's Orphan Well Association. The AER had been in discussions with the company since February 2019 regarding its financial difficulties as well as a potential debtor-led restructuring of the company's business and operations. On April 29, the company advised the AER that it may be unable to continue operations at its licensed sites. The AER responded by issuing an order directing the company to address end-of-life obligations associated with 4,400 energy licensed sites, either by decommissioning those sites, posting financial security or transferring the sites to responsible energy companies. With no funds to even enter into creditor protection, the company ceased operations the next day, terminating its 33 employees and 61 contractors and leaving its wells to the care of the AER, including proximately 1,500 wells that were not shut-in and continue to produce. It is estimated that the company's abandonment and reclamation obligations total approximately $329.0MM. The company also owes its secured lenders an additional $90.0MM and has unpaid property taxes of over $2.0MM. In the interest of public safety, the Orphan Well Association applied for a receiver to be appointed to ensure that the company's wells are properly cared for and maintained and shut-in where necessary. The Orphan Well Association is also hoping that, where possible, wells and other oil and gas assets can be sold to responsible producers to avoid having further assets designated as orphan wells. PwC was appointed receiver. Counsel is BLG for the applicant, Norton Rose Fulbright for the company, Bennett Jones for the receiver, Torys for Aimco, Blakes for ATB Financial and Brownlee for Stettler and Woodlands Counties