The AER follows the control well exception process to administer exceptions for shale gas producing wells that are not currently covered by control well requirements.
The following outlines the process to follow to get approval for an exception to the control well requirements. It includes links to application submission procedures and guidance documents.
Application Submission for Control Well Shale Gas Exception
Applicants submit their coalbed methane (CBM) control well exception applications through the Digital Data Submission (DDS) System. Applications are registered using the Integrated Application Registry (IAR), and all material related to an application is stored within this system.
Review Process Summary for Control Well Shale Gas Exception Applications
After the application is submitted through DDS and received by the AER, the application process will be as follows:
- 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.
- Statements of concern (SOCs) can be filed by parties that may be directly and adversely affected by the shale gas control well exception for which approval is sought. These are evaluated for relevance to the application. If relevant, a SOC may necessitate a public hearing to address the stated concerns prior to the disposition of the application. The relevance of the SOC is decided by the AER director of subsurface .
- 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, or proceed with a full technical review of the administratively complete application.
- The processor will check internally to determine whether the land referred to in the application is 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 approval.
- Staff will review the geologic aspects of the proposed SHG exception application—the review will focus on the alternative data collection request and will consider the data collection alternatives on a program-specific basis.
- The applicant may receive a request, called a supplemental information request, for additional information, if needed.
- A draft disposition letter will be prepared for technically complete applications (once the review is deemed complete and uncontested)—the processor will recommend that the application be approved, denied, or closed and the Geology signing authority will then review the technical recommendation and make a decision on the application
- Upon disposition, the applicant will receive a link to the disposition letter. The letter can be accessed for 30 days through the IAR query tool—for access, go to www.aer.ca, under Systems & Tools.
- Some appealable decisions on the application can be appealed by eligible persons based on the Responsible Energy Development Act—the procedures for regulatory appeals are set out in sections 30 through 33 of the Alberta Energy Regulator Rules of Practice.
- The list of valid control wells is published to the AER website—to access, go to www.aer.ca under Rules & Directives, Control Well Requirements.