02/15/2017 08:24 EST | Updated 02/16/2018 00:12 EST

Alberta energy regulator orders Lexin to stop all production on compliance failures

CALGARY — The Alberta Energy Regulator has forced Lexin Resources to shut down all production after losing confidence in the company's ability to operate safely.

According to the regulator, Lexin has failed to comply with multiple orders and doesn't have enough staff to manage its more than 1,600 sites. It also said the company owes more than $1 million in orphan fund levies and administrative fees as well as more than $70 million in security for its end of life obligations.

The AER said repeated attempts to bring the company into compliance have failed, leaving the regulator with "little confidence in Lexin's ability to conduct its operations safely."

In response, the AER has suspended the licenses of all Lexin wells, facilities and pipelines, and issued an environmental protection order requiring it to address issues at the Mazeppa sour gas plant near High River, Alta., which the regulator had ordered shut in August, 2016. 

The regulator has also instructed any other operators with working interests in any of Lexin's licensed operations to secure and shut down those sites, which will be turned over to the Orphan Well Association.

The AER said it secured a court order from the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta on Tuesday that prohibits removing equipment from Lexin properties, after finding out some had already been removed.