Oil & gas end-of-life liabilities exist in different forms in Alberta. There are real liabilities that we can see, touch and count, in the form of rusting wellheads and pump jacks left in farmers' fields. There are future liabilities that we can anticipate; these exist largely in the form of currently producing wells that one day need to be abandoned and reclaimed once they stop being profitable. Last but not least there are the invisible liabilities, typically unpredictable, in the form of already abandoned and reclaimed well sites (also known as legacy sites). These could start leaking years after abandonment resulting in contamination of soil or groundwater.
Irrespective of their form, oil & gas liabilities have the same three risks: financial risks (is there enough money for closure?), environmental risks (what is the impact on soil, water and wildlife?) and social-economic risks (what are the lost opportunities for our natural resources?).