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ID 91-03: Heavy Oil/Oil Sands Operations

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Release Date: April 08, 2020


This directive amends certain minimum regulatory requirements for

  • the drilling and servicing of heavy oil/in situ oil sands wells,
  • equipment and spacing in the production of heavy oil/in situ oil sands, and
  • measurement and accounting for heavy oil/in situ oil sands.

Heavy oil, for the purpose of this directive, is a crude oil product with a density of 920 kg/m3 or greater at 15°C. This crude oil density incorporates most of the areas of east-central Alberta, where heavy oil production operations are normally considered to occur.

These regulatory amendments are a result of a review of the recommendations from the Operating Practices Steering Committee (OPSC) for Heavy Oil/Oil Sands Operations. The OPSC has also developed Alberta Recommended Practices (ARPs) for heavy oil/oil sands operations, which will be available from the Petroleum Industry Training Service in April 1991. This directive to some extent overlaps the procedures and equipment outlined in the ARPs. However, it is necessary to formally regulate those matters listed in this directive.

Unless exempted by this directive or other AER approval, heavy oil/oil sands operations must be conducted in accordance with the Oil and Gas Conservation Rules and the Oil Sands Conservation Rules.