Flaring & Venting


Flaring is the controlled burning of natural gas in the course of routine oil and gas production operations. This burning occurs at the end of a flare stack or boom.

Venting is the controlled release of gases into the atmosphere in the course of oil and gas production operations. These gases might be natural gas or other hydrocarbon vapours, water vapour, and other gases, such as carbon dioxide, separated in the processing of oil or natural gas.

Flaring and venting are associated with a wide range of energy development activities and operations, including disposal of gas associated with

  • oil, bitumen, and gas well drilling,
  • oil, bitumen, and gas well completion or well servicing (well “cleanup”),
  • gas well testing to estimate reserves and determine productivity,
  • routine oil or bitumen production (solution gas),
  • planned nonroutine depressuring of processing equipment and gas pipelines for maintenance,
  • unplanned nonroutine depressuring of process equipment and gas pipelines due to process upsets or emergency, and
  • oilfield waste management facilities.

The AER has several directives and bulletins that control and regulate flaring and venting in the province of Alberta.



  • Directive 039 Revised Program to Reduce Benzene Emissions from Glycol Dehydrators
  • Directive 060 Upstream Petroleum Industry Flaring, Incinerating, and Venting


  • AER Bulletin 2014-17 New Requirements for the Capture and Flaring, Incinerating, or Conserving of All Casing Gas and Tank-Top Gas by New and Existing Operations in the Peace River Area
  • Bulletin 2011-32 Amendments to Directive 060: Upstream Petroleum Industry Flaring, Incinerating, and Venting, the Oil and Gas Conservation Regulation, and the Pipeline Regulation

Statistical Reports

  • ST57 Field Surveillance and Operations Branch Provincial Summary
  • ST60B Upstream Petroleum Industry Flaring and Venting Report