Primary Recovery Schemes


Primary Recovery Schemes

Primary recovery scheme applications submitted to the AER under the Oil Sands Conservation Act are required for bitumen recovery operations that do not adhere to the standard quarter section drilling spacing unit requirement. Before licensing and drilling a second well in a quarter section for the purpose of bitumen recovery, if an existing well is capable of bitumen production from the same target formation, a primary recovery scheme approval is required.

Application Submission

Primary recovery scheme applications are submitted to the following inbox:

Applications are registered using the Integrated Application Registry (IAR) as nonconfidential and are assigned an application number. All documentation related to the application is saved in this system.

Review Process

After the application is received, a coordinator is assigned, the application is registered in the IAR, and a technical review is conducted. The review includes the following:

  • Following registration in the IAR, a public notice of application (PNoA) is posted on the AER website to enable public participation in the approval process.
  • Anyone who believes they may be directly and adversely affected by an energy resource application can file a statement of concern to
  • When appropriate, the coordinator sends internal referrals to AER subject-matter experts to review the application.
  • Supplemental information may be requested of the applicant (i.e., supplemental information requests [SIRs]) if the information is required in order to complete the technical review.
  • A recommendation and decision is made.
  • When applicable, the application is referred to the Lieutenant Governor in Council for authorization.
  • When applicable, a public hearing may take place before an AER decision is made on the application.

Application Timelines

New - 205 business days

Amended - 125 business days