On April 6, Alberta’s minister of energy issued ministerial order 219/2020 (the Order) that modifies some Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) reporting and other requirements under Alberta’s Oil and Gas Conservation Act.
The following reporting and other requirements have been deferred or suspended:
- Reporting reservoir pressure surveys for resource conservation;
- Submitting annual progress reports and performance presentations for enhanced recovery schemes;
- Submitting well logs and summary reports;
- Suspending the requirements to suspend wells considered as low risk and medium risk type 6 that are not part of the Inactive Well Compliance Program;
- Suspending inspection requirements for inactive wells considered as low and medium risk that are not part of the Inactive Well Compliance Program; and
- Suspending the compliance deadline for the Inactive Well Compliance Program.
Despite deferring some reporting and other requirements, most energy reporting requirements to the AER continue to apply, including the requirements to report:
- Spills and releases;
- Production volumes;
- Flaring and venting;
- Commencing or suspending operations.
The full version of the Order can be found here.
Monitoring and record keeping continues
The Order is clear that all required monitoring and reporting requirements continue, except as modified by the Order. The Order further provides that all approval, registration, license and disposition holders are required to continue to monitor, record and retain complete information relating to any reporting or submission requirements and make them available to the AER upon request.
The Order is to remain in effect until August 14, 2020, or until it is terminated by the minister.
In addition to the changes noted above, the Order modifies the reporting requirements under Alberta’s Coal Conservation Act and the Oil Sands Conservation Act as follows:
Coal Conservation Act
All requirements to file annual reports under the Coal Conservation Rules and all plans in approval conditions are suspended. Geotechnical reporting requirements continue.
Oil Sands Conservation Act
All requirements to file annual mine plan reports, annual geotechnical reports and operation reports under the Oil Sands Conservation Rules are suspended. Additionally, all requirements to report information under the Oil Sands Conservation Rules and approvals are suspended, except for conditions related to geotechnical reporting requirements.
The Order is further to previous ministerial orders issued by Alberta’s minister of environment and parks that modified certain industrial environmental reporting requirements in Alberta. More information on these changes can be found here.
As of April 9, Alberta, along with Quebec, remains one of the only provinces that has modified or suspended the application of certain environmental legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, on March 26, the assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance at the US Environmental Protection Agency unveiled its own policy to deal with environmental non-compliance in the wake of COVID-19. More information on this policy can be found here.
Additional information on tips to manage environmental risk during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.