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New Edition of Directive 020

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Release Date: September 05, 2023

Today we released a new edition of Directive 020: Well Abandonment. The changes in section 5.4 amend the requirements for abandoning cased-hole wells penetrating an oil sands zone. We released draft requirements for public review on Jun 13, 2023, and accepted feedback until July 12, 2023 (see Bulletin 2023-26). These changes were reflected in the draft directive released on, on which public feedback was accepted until. A summary of what we heard and our responses is available on the Directive 020 landing page.

Directive 020 allows for routine abandonment of wells penetrating an oil sands zone using the requirements in section 5.3, “Wells Not Penetrating the Oil Sands Zones,” if the subject well meets the criteria for low thermal potential:

  • The well is within the boundary of an oil sands area that the AER has assessed as having a low potential for thermal development.
  • A qualified geoscientist has determined the well has a low potential for thermal development.
  • The AER has approved a variance for nonthermal well abandonment within an oil sands area.

The revised edition of Directive 020 is available on our website at > Regulating Development > Rules and Directives > Directives. If you have any questions, contact our Customer Contact Centre by phone at 1-855-297-8311 or by email at @email.