Routine applications for wells, facilities, and pipelines under Directive 056: Energy Development Applications and Schedules are submitted when the applicant is able to demonstrate that it will comply with all regulatory requirements, that there are no outstanding concerns or objections, and that a relaxation of regulatory requirements is not requested. Routine applications are reviewed to ensure that regulatory requirements are met before issuing a licence or permit.
Applicants must have all applicable approvals in place (e.g., surface lease agreements, public lands dispositions, mineral rights) before submitting the application. Additional approvals from the AER or other governmental agencies may be required; please refer to the other “Application Processes” for related AER approvals.
Detailed information about routine applications can be found on the AER’s website. The following outlines the critical information requirements and the process to follow to get approval for any routine well, pipeline, or facility. It includes links to application submission procedures and guidance documents.
Routine applications (amendment) under Directive 056 must be submitted through Electronic Applications Submission using the Digital Data Submissions (DDS) System, which is under “Systems & Tools” on the AER website, www.aer.ca.
The application is registered using the Integrated Application Registry (IAR) system and assigned an application number for reference. All material related to the application is stored in this system. Once it has been registered, the details recorded on the application forms are locked and cannot be changed.
The application is routed to the appropriate processing staff based on the processing stream, which is determined by the information recorded on the application forms (i.e., routine versus nonroutine).
All routine applications are automatically published on the Public Notice of Application (PNoA) page of the AER website after registration through IAR. This encourages public participation in the approval process.
Upon receipt at the AER, the application is reviewed initially for administrative completeness. This part of the review ensures that the documents required for routine applications have been attached and are relevant to the application. Depending on the type of application, required documents will include a well survey, pipeline right-of-way and base-plan maps, or facility plot plan and process-flow diagram. Applicants may include additional attachments, such as a cover letter, to help in the decision-making process.
Further review is done to determine whether the development is within the approved Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA) areas of the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan or South Saskatchewan Regional Plan. If any part of the development is within one of these areas, the review will determine the appropriateness of issuing an approval in these areas (refer to information requirements in Bulletin 2014-28). The AER has no authority to waive compliance with or vary any restriction, limitation, or requirement regarding a land area or land use under a regional plan. Applicants that wish to seek this type of relief must apply directly to Alberta’s Land Use Secretariat established under the ALSA.
A detailed review is done to ensure that the information presented on the application forms matches the supporting attachments. This review also ensures that the processing path (routine versus nonroutine) is appropriate.
During the review, it may be necessary to ask the applicant for more information to clarify the information submitted. If more information is required, a supplemental information request (SIR) is sent to the applicant by e-mail with a submission deadline of up to two business days. An application may be closed if the SIR response is not received within the specified timeframe, if the application is deficient, if the processing path is incorrect, if details on the application forms are incorrect, or if a statement of concern received after application registration is unresolved. The applicant will be notified by e-mail and is provided with a link to retrieve a copy of the decision. The application may be resubmitted upon receipt of the closure notice.
If the application is deemed technically complete, it will be recommended for approval and will proceed to a delegated decision-maker for final review and decision. The delegated decision-maker may choose to approve, close, or deny the application, or may return it to staff for further review. The applicant is advised of the decision by e-mail and is provided with a link to retrieve a copy of the decision. The disposition document will be available on IAR Query for 30 days.
Decisions on routine applications are issued on an expedited basis as set out in the Rules of Practice.
Routine applications may be subject to a post-approval audit review to ensure that the representations on the application forms meet the regulatory requirements for the design, construction, and operation of the proposed activity, and to identify areas for continuous improvement.