The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has a mandate to approve and regulate the use of public land in Alberta for oil sands activities under the following legislations:
Manual 008: Oil Sands and Coal Exploration Application Guide includes application requirements, processes, and expected timelines for oil sands exploration and coal exploration programs to help industry plan its programs and to understand the regulatory process.
Notifications under the Code of Practice for Exploration Operations oil sand on private/patented lands are sent to email@example.com.
Oil sands companies may apply for exploration programs but must hold the subsurface rights, or prove the right to work the mineral, before authorization is granted.
The applicant will submit its oil sands exploration (OSE) program application to AERSurfaceActivityApplication@aer.ca by e-mail and will include all documentation required by schedules I and II of the Code of Practice for Exploration Operation in the e-mail submission.
Within five days of the application’s submission, a public notice of application will be posted for 30 days, during which time the public may submit a statement of concern (SOC) about the application.
Once an application is submitted, it is reviewed for administrative completeness, and if it is determined acceptable, it is sent to the field land use officer for a technical review.
Once the land use officer has reviewed the application package, the officer will recommend approving the request, asking for more information through a supplementary information request, rejecting the application based on incompleteness, or refusing the application based on merit. The application will then proceed to regulatory review.
A land analyst implements the regulatory review, which includes reviewing the First Nations consultation decision for consistency. There is also a check to see if any SOCs have been registered against the application. If an SOC has been received, the statement of concern application review process is initiated to determine whether the project needs to go through a hearing.
Once all requirements have been met, a notice of decision, which includes operating conditions, will be issued for the program.
The processing time for this application is 60 business days.
Note: it could be more than 60 days if an SOC is registered against the application.