How Many “Inactive” Oil & Gas Wells Does Alberta Have?

At the end of 2016, there were about 83,000 wells in Alberta deemed “Inactive”*. Those wells have been plotted against the Alberta Township System and the mapping shows a dense distribution across the province.

In quoting the number for Inactive Wells,  we recommend using phrases like, “it was about, or it was approximately, 83,000 at the end of 2016”.

Definition and Interpretation:  

  • An *Inactive Well ” is a well that has not reported an operation (production or injection) to Petrinex in the last” 12 calendar months”;   this quote is from AER Directive 006 – Licensee Liability Rating (LLR) Program and Licence Transfer Process.  Published February 17, 2016.
  • The original data source related to this post is the: AER Inactive and Forecast Data File for Dec 30, 2016.  The file is republished daily.
  • The Inactive Well number changes marginally on a daily basis (as reported by the AER).
  • Some of the Inactive Wells at any point in time can be re-activated to produce gas and oil.  No stats of that nature are offered in our analysis.

Note: Orphan Wells  are usually Inactive Wells too and occur when the producer / operator (the well licencee) has become defunct.  We have a separate post explaining that number.


To interact with the specific dashboard above and see the values change, please see this link. To see numerous other dashboards on the subject, please see this link.

*All information is provided subject to our Terms of Use, including disclaimer of warranties and limitations on liability. © Fuzeium Innovations Inc. To provide feedback, contact us at