WITHIN THIS SECTION
The upstream oil and gas reclamation and remediation program was developed in consultation with landowners, industry, and other affected stakeholders to ensure that land in Alberta used for oil and gas development is restored to a productive state.
Under this program, all upstream oil and gas sites on private and public land must be reclaimed when a site is no longer needed for energy resource development.
The AER regulates reclamation activities on both private and public land. A company that owns a well, pipeline, facility, or other development that is no longer required is responsible for reclaiming the land, addressing surface reclamation issues and subsurface contamination, and applying to the AER for a reclamation certificate. Once all requirements are met, the AER issues the reclamation certificate.
Alberta's Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act requires operators to conserve and reclaim specified land and get a reclamation certificate. The AER issues these certificates to operators when a site has been successfully reclaimed.
To get closure of a reclaimed site, the operator applies to the AER for a reclamation certificate. The operator must include an analysis of contamination and a report detailing how contaminants were cleaned and how surface issues such as soil replacement and revegetation were addressed.
To ensure that all standards and guidelines have been met, the AER conducts both random and targeted audits on certified sites. A failed audit will result in additional review of the site reclamation or remediation and the reclamation certificate could be cancelled; certificates can also be cancelled if a landowner or occupant complains and the site is found to be noncompliant with remediation or reclamation criteria.