An application to construct and operate a new oilfield waste management facility is required under section 39(1)(g) of the Oil and Gas Conservation Act (OCGA) and section 15.212 of the Oil and Gas Conservation Rules (OCGR). Additional approval from the AER or other government agencies may also be required to operate an oilfield waste management facility. The following outlines the process to follow to get approval for an oilfield waste management facility. It includes links to application submission procedures and guidance documents.
The applicant will submit its new oilfield waste management facility application through electronic applications submission. Applications are registered using the Integrated Application Registry (IAR), and all material related to an application is stored within this system.
With submission of the application, the approval holder acknowledges that all information, except for monetary or personal information, relating to the proposed facility is no longer confidential.
Review Process for New Oilfield Waste Management Facilities
After the application is submitted by Digital Data Submission (DDS) and received, the following application processes will take place:
- All applications will be published on the Public Notice of Application (PNoA) page on the AER website to encourage public participation in the approval process.
- Anyone who could potentially be affected by the proposed oilfield waste management facility may request a public hearing before a decision is made on an oilfield waste management approval application.
- The application will be assigned to a processor and reviewed for administrative completeness. The processor will either recommend that an information-deficient application be closed (proceed to item 11 below) or proceed with a full technical review of the administratively complete application.
- The processor will do an internal check to determine whether the applied-for facility falls within the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan or South Saskatchewan Regional Plan areas. If the application is within one of these areas, the application will go for leadership review.
- The application will be referred to additional AER sections or branches for specific technical reviews.
- The review will focus on the siting conditions, techniques used to manage oilfield waste and its residuals, storage devices to be used, facility operations and layout, environmental monitoring systems (soil and groundwater), and resource conservation.
- The applicant may receive a request for additional information called a supplemental information request if needed.
- A draft waste management approval will be prepared for technically complete applications once the review is complete (including posting the required financial security) and uncontested, and the processor will recommend that the application be approved or closed. The Waste and Storage Section signing authority will then make a decision on the application and technical recommendation.
- Upon issuance, the applicant will receive a link to the oilfield waste management approval, which can be accessed for 30 days through IAR Query. Go to www.aer.ca under Systems & Tools for access.
- If the processor recommends that the application be denied, the application will be referred to the director to make a final determination. If an application is denied, the applicant can file an appeal through the current AER appeal process.
Some decisions on the application can be appealed by eligible persons under the Responsible Energy Development Act. The filing requirements for a request for regulatory appeal, including form, content, and time limits, are set out in section 30 of the Alberta Energy Regulator Rules of Practice. The procedures for regulatory appeals are described in sections 30 through 33.
The processing time for this application is 100 days, and the AER aims to meet this target 90 per cent of the time.