Alberta To Set Time Limits On Alberta Energy Regulator’s Assessment Of Oil And Gas Applications
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The Alberta government is moving to speed up the approval of oil
and gas projects by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER).
In 2019 Alberta’s minister of energy began a review of the
timelines of the AER’s processing of oil and gas applications.
The minister noted that the AER was taking four times longer than
other jurisdictions such as Texas to approve certain similar
projects. The review has resulted in the introduction of Bill 7:
Responsible Energy Development Amendment Act, 2020 (Bill 7) which,
if passed and brought into law, will impose time limits for the AER
to review oil and gas applications. Bill 7 passed first reading on
Changes introduced by Bill 7
If passed, Bill 7 will:
- authorize Cabinet to make regulations
imposing time limits on the exercise of the AER’s powers,
duties and functions; and
- require the AER to review and make
decisions on project applications, appeals and reconsiderations
within specified time periods.
Bill 7 does not set the specific timelines ̶
they are to be set by regulations. It is also not known what
exceptions or extensions, if any, will be authorized in the
Implication of Bill 7
Alberta’s oil and gas regulatory process has been criticized
by some for the time the AER takes to review applications. In 2017,
the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) published a
report that analyzed the competitiveness of Alberta’s oil and
gas industry and compared the timelines required for well licensing
applications in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and certain
US states, including Texas. The report was updated in
The updated report noted it took four to six years for approval
of an in situ oil sands project and “non-routine” well
licensing applications could take as long as 144 days and go as
high as 220 days when there were public or industry concerns
regarding the project, which was about 130 to 190 days longer than
similar applications in BC, Saskatchewan and some US states.
The Fraser Institute’s 2018 Global Petroleum Survey assessed
the attractiveness of oil and gas jurisdictions for investments
based on a number…