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ERCB Brochure Understanding Oil and Gas Development in Alberta by g4039193


									ERCB Brochure: Understanding Oil and Gas Development in Alberta

This brochure contains basic information to                Industry: Industry is required to notify and
help you understand what sort of                           if necessary consult with people whose
development is being proposed and how it                   rights may be directly and adversely affected
affects you.                                               by proposed development. Industry is
                                                           expected to consult with other interested
An oil and gas company representative has                  parties it identifies from a regional review of
approached you and wants to conduct                        needs and issues. Industry is also expected
oilfield activities on or near your land. You              to communicate with landowners and
and the company will be discussing the                     residents on a regular basis throughout the
proposed development and its potential                     life of the project, which may be 30 years or
impact on you, as well as alternatives and                 longer.
measures to minimize impacts. You may
also be negotiating a surface lease                        The ERCB: As the regulator of the energy
agreement (for example, on the location of a               industry, the ERCB has the authority to
well and access road) and discussing                       approve or deny proposed energy
compensation.                                              developments in the province of Alberta and
                                                           to place enforceable conditions on any
ERCB Requirements and Expectations                         licences issued. The ERCB also assists
for Participant Involvement                                individuals, communities, and other
                                                           interested groups to understand the
The ERCB believes that any individual,                     regulatory requirements and expectations
organization, community, or group with a                   and how they apply at the local level.
stake in Alberta’s energy resources is a
participant, having both roles and                         Your Rights and the Company’s Rights
responsibilities. All participants are
encouraged to develop relationships that are               In Alberta, both the landowner and the
respectful, responsive, and responsible.                   company have rights.
While other groups also have a stake in
energy development, the three main                         Rights to information: Under ERCB
participant groups are the public, industry,               regulations, requirements, and guidelines,
and the ERCB.                                              the company must provide information to all
                                                           parties whose rights may be directly and
The public: The ERCB application process                   adversely affected by a proposed project so
provides the public with an opportunity to                 they can fully understand what is being
share its questions and concerns with the                  proposed. If you are concerned about
company. There are many things the public,                 surface impacts, the company must give you
individually or collectively, can do to                    details about how and why it chose the
participate in the planning of proposed                    proposed well site, pipeline route, and
developments. Many communities have                        access road location. The company should
formed groups with members from industry                   also tell you what to expect in terms of
and the ERCB. These groups try to find                     equipment and operations during the
ways to resolve issues at the local level. The             production phase.
company will provide you with contact
information if there is a group in your area.

                                ERCB Directive 056: Energy Development Applications and Schedules (June 2008)   •   1
The company may provide any agreements                          •    answer your questions on its plans for
you make with it, as well as records of                              soil handling and reclamation, and
discussions, to the ERCB during the                             •    address any other concerns you may
application process. That material becomes                           have related to the proposed pipeline or
part of the ERCB’s record of the application,                        facility.
which is a public record available to
anybody. In addition, information provided                      Selecting a Well Site
to the ERCB (whether as part of the
application process or otherwise) may be                        When selecting a well site, the company
publicly available under the Freedom of                         considers subsurface geology, land surface
Information and Protection of Privacy Act.                      conditions, current and future land use,
The exception to this is agreements made in                     environmental sensitivity, and reclamation.
Appropriate Dispute Resolution, which are                       Well spacing regulations provide
confidential.                                                   requirements about where wells may be
Mutual rights to use the land: Most land
in Alberta carries two titles and two sets of                   A spacing unit is the subsurface area that
rights. The surface title gives the landowner                   one well can drain. The spacing unit for oil
full control of the land’s surface and the                      wells in Alberta is normally one well per
right to work it. The mineral title gives the                   quarter section of land; for gas wells it is
company or person who owns the minerals                         normally one well per section of land.
under that land the right to explore for oil                    However, reduced spacing and directional
and gas. In some situations, title to land will                 drilling are common practices in Alberta.
give the owner both the surface and the
mineral rights. If title to the land is split, the              Inside the spacing unit is a target area
mineral owner needs access to the land                          where the bottom of the well should end.
surface to drill and produce oil and gas.
                                                                In the example below, the gas target area is
Two important conditions apply to the                           the centre 100 hectares (250 acres) of the
company’s right to explore. First, drilling                     section. Keep in mind that the target area
and production activity must be done in a                       dictates the subsurface location for a well,
way that is environmentally and technically                     not the surface location.
acceptable. Second, a company must operate                                    Gas Target Area

in ways that minimize possible interference
                                                                              LSD 13      LSD 14   LSD 15             LSD 16
with the landowner’s use of the land.

Planning an Oil or Gas Project                                                LSD 12      LSD 11   LSD 10             LSD 9

Selecting a Pipeline or Facility Location

When selecting a pipeline right-of-way or a                                   LSD 5       LSD 6    LSD 7              LSD 8
                                                                                                                     300 m

facility site, the company must consider                                                                            (950 ft.)

potential impacts on present and future land                                  LSD 4       LSD 3    LSD 2    LSD 1

uses. The company must

•   ensure that you understand what
    substance the pipeline is to transport or
    the facility is to handle,

2 • ERCB Directive 056: Energy Development Applications and Schedules (June 2008)
                                                           requirement stated in ERCB Directive 056:
The oil target area is the northeastern 16
hectares (40 acres) of the quarter section, as             Energy Development Application and
shown in the example below.                                Schedules. The following figure illustrates
                                                           how a company expanded its participant
                                                           involvement program beyond the
                                                           requirement to take into account the special
                                                           needs and circumstances of the community.

                                                                  Occupied Dwelling

                                                                  Resident Egress                     29                 28
                                                                  Proposed Development

                                                                  Summer Camp for Disabled Children
                                                                  Summer Camp for Disabled Children

Together, the oil and gas target areas overlap
                                                                        19                                               21
and form a common target area, as shown
in the shaded portions of the figure below.
Many companies prefer to drill the common
target area if there is a chance to encounter
both oil and gas.

                                                           During the initial planning stage of a well, a
                                                           company began preliminary development of
                                                           its participation involvement program using
                                                           the public consultation and notification
                                                           requirements. With further development of
                                                           the participant involvement program, the
                                                           company identified that the requirements
                                                           would not take into account egress of the
                                                           resident just outside the northwest area of
                                                           the development, residents in the community
                                                           to southeast of the development, or the
If you disagree with a proposed well                       special needs of the summer camp for
location, you may ask the company                          disabled children located in the southwest.
representative to sketch the spacing unit and
target area for the well. This will help you               The company then adapted its participant
determine if there is flexibility for moving               involvement program to include the
the well site.                                             residents, summer camp, and community.
                                                           By including all the parties during the initial
Consultation                                               planning stages, the company was able to
                                                           identify and address the concerns raised by
In many instances it is appropriate for a                  the residents and summer camp prior to its
company to complete public consultation                    application to the ERCB.
and notification beyond the

                                ERCB Directive 056: Energy Development Applications and Schedules (June 2008)             •   3
Having Your Say                                                 However, if objections cannot be resolved,
                                                                the application may go to an ERCB hearing,
Landowners, residents, and communities                          where the matter will be decided by the
that have concerns related to the                               ERCB Board.
development of Alberta’s energy resources
should become involved as early as possible                     If you show the ERCB, through a written
in the development planning process. It is                      submission, that your rights may be directly
usually easier to resolve issues at the local                   and adversely affected if the Board approves
level before they become matters of greater                     a proposed energy development and you
concern. Ongoing dialogue also builds trust                     have been unable to resolve your concerns
and is one way for you to have greater                          through field facilitation or ADR, you may
influence on energy development.                                trigger a public hearing.

The table on the next page shows a number                       The ERCB examines each submission on its
of options available to help you resolve                        own merits to determine the potential
concerns about proposed development. As a                       impacts on you, taking into account the
landowner or resident, there are several key                    following factors:
points in the application process when your
questions and concerns may be addressed.                        •    Does the proposed project have the
Note, though, that you have the right to                             potential to affect safety or economic or
expect any reasonable concerns to be                                 property rights? Examples of such
promptly addressed at any point during this                          impacts include negative effects from
process and at any time during the life of the                       contaminants in water, air, or soil or
project.                                                             from noise; negative interference with
                                                                     livelihood or commercial activity on the
Usually, a company will offer to consult                             land; damage to property; and concerns
with you at your home. If you and the                                for the safety of persons or animals.
company cannot resolve your concerns,
either party may ask an ERCB staff member                       •    Are you affected in a different way or to
to facilitate a meeting or meetings between                          a greater degree than members of the
you and the company. This is “field                                  general public?
                                                                •    Are you able to show a reasonable and
If objections continue to be unresolved, you                         direct connection between the activity
or the company may request that the ERCB                             complained of and the rights or interests
arrange for a third-party mediator to assist                         you believe to be affected?
you. This is part of the Appropriate Dispute
Resolution (ADR) process. The company                           By considering your submission in this way,
may also request a hearing at this time. If                     the ERCB can determine if you may be
you can resolve issues through such                             directly and adversely affected by the
discussions with the company, with or                           proposed development.
without a facilitator or mediator, you may
find that you have greater influence on
project planning and reducing its impacts.

4 • ERCB Directive 056: Energy Development Applications and Schedules (June 2008)
Having Your Say: Options for Resolving Concerns
Step One                        Option One                           Option 2                        Option 3
Required Consultation or                                             ADR - Third-Party
Notification                    ADR - Facilitation                   Mediation                       ERCB Hearing
Directive 056 requires industry If you have concerns after the       If your concerns remain         If third-party mediation
to notify or consult with those required consultation process,       unresolved, a neutral third-    fails to resolve your
persons whose rights may be an ERCB staff member may be              party mediator may be           concerns, the matter
directly and adversely affected asked to assist. Either you or       brought in to assist. This is   may go to an ERCB
by proposed developments.       the company may make this            the next stage of the ADR       public hearing for a
                                request. Facilitation is the first   process and is also             decision.
                                stage of the Appropriate             optional. Agreements made
                                Dispute Resolution (ADR)             in ADR are confidential.
                                process and is optional.             This option may be chosen
                                                                     even if a hearing has been
                                                                     scheduled. It is possible to
                                                                     avoid a hearing if concerns
                                                                     are resolved at this stage.

Further information regarding the ERCB Appropriate Dispute Resolution process is available on
the ERCB Web site

Required EnerFAQs
The ERCB has put together a number of EnerFAQs on topics of general interest to the
public. Regardless of whether the proposed development is a well, pipeline, or facility,
the company must either provide or offer the following EnerFAQs:
•    No. 4: All About Critical Sour Wells
•    No. 5: Explaining ERCB Setbacks
•    No. 6: Flaring and Incineration
•    No. 7: Proposed Oil and Gas Development—A Landowner’s Guide
•    No. 8: Coalbed Methane
•    No. 9: The ERCB and You: Agreements, Commitments, and Conditions
•    No. 10: Public Health and Safety: Roles and Responsibilities of Agencies That
     Regulate Upstream Oil and Gas
•    No. 11: All About Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR)
EnerFAQs continue to be published on topics of general interest to the public. As new
EnerFAQs related to energy development become available they will be posted to the
Directive 056 Web page.

EnerFAQs may also be obtained from the ERCB Web site at or by
contacting ERCB Communications at 403-297-8311.

                                           ERCB Directive 056: Energy Development Applications and Schedules (June 2008) • 5
ERCB Field Centres and Contacts
Field Centres
Drayton Valley
Grande Prairie
High Level
Medicine Hat
403- 527-3385
Red Deer
St. Albert
Fort McMurray Regional
Calgary Head Office
Customer Contact Centre
Web site
Facilities Applications
403-297-4369 (Help line)
E-mail address
Facilitation Team
403-297-3700 (Help line)
E-mail address

To call the above numbers toll free, dial 310-0000 and follow the prompts or ask the operator for the
desired number.

6 •   ERCB Directive 056: ERCB Public Documents (June 2008)

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