News Release 2010-12-03


News Release 2010-12-03

News Release 2010-12-03 (NR2010-18)

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ERCB streamlines in situ oil sands application process

For immediate release

Calgary, Alberta (Dec 03, 2010)… As part of the Energy Resources Conservation Board’s commitment to streamlining and improving its regulatory requirements, it has issued Directive 78: Regulatory Application Process for Modifications to Commercial In Situ Oil Sands Projects.

The new ERCB directive redesigns the regulatory approach to amendment applications for all commercial in situ oil sands projects.

Commercial in situ oil sands projects typically take years to construct, and operate for several decades. As technology changes and operational experience grows, the ERCB will receive multiple amendment applications from each in situ project.

The new directive will streamline the amendment application process by employing one of three regulatory categories, depending on the nature and complexity of the amendment:

  • Category 1: Amendments deal with relatively simple modifications.
  • Category 2: Amendments deal with modifications that could affect resource conservation and/or involve significant process modifications but are not expected to adversely alter the environmental and socioeconomic impacts in the original or amended project application.
  • Category 3: Amendments deal with modifications that may result in changes to environmental and/or socioeconomic impacts assessed in the original or amended project applications.

The ERCB directive also clarifies stakeholder engagement by requiring companies to conduct appropriate consultation on amendment applications that have the potential for adverse public impact.

The changes to the ERCB’s in situ oil sands application process complement the Government of Alberta’s Energizing Investment: A Framework to Improve Alberta’s Natural Gas and Conventional Oil Competitiveness released in March, 2010. The Framework aims to ensure Alberta provides a leading competitive environment for oil and gas investment in Alberta.

A key outcome of the Framework was the establishment of the Regulatory Enhancement Project which is examining ways to improve Alberta’s regulatory systems. The ERCB has been a full participant in this project since it began earlier this year.

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For more information, please contact:

Darin Barter, ERCB Communications
Phone: 403-681-0946
Media line: 1-855-474-6356