Legal Header

Project Application

Timeline

Our estimated processing time for this application is 15 business days. See our timeline spreadsheet for updates.

Purpose of the Application

To increase the amount of resources they can recover, energy companies will place wells in more than one location in individual pools or formations. We regulate how many wells can be placed within a defined area, referred to as the well spacing. Our well spacing requirements promote resource conservation by ensuring that reservoirs are developed efficiently and orderly. These requirements also help protect equity among mineral rights owners.

Our regulations for well spacing are governed by the Oil and Gas Conservation Rules (OGCR) and theOil and Gas Conservation Act (OGCA). Our requirements are set out in Directive 065: Resources Applications for Oil and Gas Reservoirs.

Under section 79(4) of the OGCA, we will consider applications for special well spacing that would allow for increased well densities from the baseline densities for standard drilling spacing units (DSUs) prescribed in section 4.021 of the OGCR. Under Part 4 of the OGCR, a standard DSU is one section of land for a gas well and a quarter section of land for an oil well.

Process Checklist

Before Applying
The minimum criteria for an application to be processed under the quick application path should be reviewed before submitting an application. These criteria are set out in section 7.4.1 of Directive 065. If these criteria cannot be met, we have a separate application process for special well spacing – standard/nonstandard applications. The minimum criteria to submit an application under the standard and nonstandard application paths are set out in section 7.4.2 and 7.4.3, respectively, of Directive 065.

Please note: A block of land that contains multiple, connected DSUs of common ownership can be developed without a special well spacing approval, limited only by the standard target area on the external boundaries of that block of land (as long as the baseline well density per DSU is not exceeded for that area).

Submit an Application
Companies must submit their applications through our Digital Data Submission (DDS) system. We will register each application and assign it a reference number.

By submitting an application, the company accepts that its information is no longer confidential.

Things to Remember

  • Under Section 4.040(3) of the OGCR, applications must demonstrate that
    • recovery will be improved;
    • additional wells are necessary to provide capacity to drain the pool at a reasonable rate without adverse effect on resources conservation; and
    • spacing has already been substantially established in a pool, and the proposed spacing provisions are equal to or more restrictive than the established pool spacing.
  • Under Section 1.020(2)(4) of the OGCR and unit 7 of Directive 065, holdings and units must be composed of whole and connected DSUs, and the ownership must be considered common at both the lessor and lessee levels.

Review Process

  1. We share all applications on our Public Notice of Application page to encourage public participation in the approval process.
  2. Anyone who believes that they may be directly and adversely affected by an application can file a statement of concern (SOC). If we receive an SOC, it may take us longer to process the application.
  3. We will assign the application to a subject matter expert for initial review. If information is missing (i.e., the application does not meet Directive 065 “quick criteria” set out in section 7.4.1), we will close the application. Otherwise, we will proceed with a full technical review. For modified and rescinded spacing applications, we assess whether criteria in sections 7.2.7.3, 7.2.7.4, and 7.2.7.5 of Directive 065 are met.
  4. We may request additional information (through a supplemental information request) to complete our technical review.
  5. We will decide to approve, close, or deny the application. If we close it, the applicant may reapply without prejudice. If we deny it, the applicant can file an appeal through our appeal process.
  6. We will provide the applicant with a link to the letter with our decision, which is accessible for 30 days through the Integrated Application Registry. After this period, the disposition document and a copy of the application can be ordered by emailing InformationRequest@aer.ca or calling 403-297-8311. We will also share our decision on our Publication of Decision page.