In September 2014, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) launched a play-based regulation (PBR) pilot in the Fox Creek area to test a new approach to govern unconventional oil and gas development.
The PBR pilot tested a single, integrated application that allows energy companies to submit one application for all activities under an energy development project, instead of submitting separate applications for each activity.
The single, integrated application approach requires energy companies to engage stakeholders for the entire project plan instead of for each individual well, and allows the AER to better understand the broader impacts of energy development projects so we can ensure steps are taken to minimize potential impacts on the environment, communities, and stakeholders.
The AER has evaluated the PBR pilot, and findings are included in the report, Evaluation of the Alberta Energy Regulator’s Play-based Regulation Pilot. The findings will help inform new ways of regulating oil and gas development in the province.
The PBR pilot builds off of the work completed under the Energy Resources Conservation Board’s Unconventional Regulatory Framework discussion paper in 2012. Regulating Unconventional Oil and Gas in Alberta: A Discussion Paper outlined a vision of the future state of unconventional resource regulation in Alberta that considers the cumulative effects of development, water and waste management, air quality, and public safety. The paper describes a play-focused approach to regulation, describing the impacts associated with unconventional development as well as when and how the regulator will apply science-based, risk-assessed, play-based regulation.