The AER establishes pool boundaries and assigns reserves to all oil and gas pools in Alberta. These are shown in pool orders, the annual reserves publication (i.e., ST98), and individual well and pool files. The initial oil volume or gas volume in place for new pools is normally based on simple building-block assignment areas and wellbore parameters. Initial delineation reflects early geological and pressure information. As more well data and performance data are available, delineation and reserves may be adjusted to reflect this new information.
The interpretation of pool reserves and delineation can affect regulatory requirements for the operation and development of oil and gas pools in Alberta, and it can affect equity-related issues between operators. A well licensee may choose to make an application to change assigned reserves or pool delineation for various reasons (see attached Directive 065: Resources Applications for Oil and Gas Reservoirs).
The following outlines the process to follow to apply for pool delineation and ultimate reserves. It includes links to application submission procedures and guidance documents.
Application Submission for Pool Delineation and Ultimate Reserves
The applicant will submit its pool delineation application 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 in the IAR system.
Guidance Documents for Pool Delineation and Ultimate Reserves
Pool Delineation and Ultimate Reserves Application Checklist
Directive 065, section 2.5, Application for Pool Delineation and Ultimate Reserves
Review Process for Pool Delineation and Ultimate Reserves
After the application is submitted via DDS and received by the AER, the following application processes will take place:
- All applications will be published on the Public Notice of Application (PNoA) page on the AER website in order to encourage public participation in the process.
- Parties that could potentially be affected by requested pooling or reserve changes, or both, may request a public hearing before a decision is made on a pool delineation or ultimate reserve 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, 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 (LARP) or South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP) areas—if the application is within one of these areas, the application will go through the current SCRUM process.
- Staff will review the geologic or reservoir engineering aspects, or both, of the proposed pool delineation or ultimate reserve application—the review will focus on the geological and engineering data that support the requested pooling or reserve changes.
- The application may be referred to other AER sections or branches for specific technical details.
- The applicant may receive a request for additional information called a supplemental information request, if needed.
- The applicant may be asked to notify offset mineral rights owners if AER staff identify a potential equity issue.
- 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 make a decision on the application and technical recommendation.
- Upon disposition, the appropriate pooling and reserve changes will be made on the AER database and the applicant will receive a link to the approval. The link can be accessed for 30 days through the IAR Query tool—for access, go to www.aer.ca, under Systems & Tools (approved pooling and reserve changes will be effective with the next month’s pool order update).
- If the processor recommends that the application be denied, the application will be referred to the Director to make a final determination. If Director denies the application, the applicant can file an appeal through the current AER appeal process.
- 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 described in sections 30 through 33 of the Alberta Energy Regulator Rules of Practice.