This legislation amends the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Act as well as the Mines and Minerals Act to facilitate carbon capture and storage and to secure the observance of safe and efficient practices in the exploration for and use of underground formations for the injection of substances.
Part IX “Sequestration of Captured Carbon Dioxide” to the Mines and Minerals Act provides the Energy Resources Conservation Board with more specific regulatory powers in respect of captured carbon dioxide and rights to drill wells and to inject captured carbon dioxide for sequestration.
The revised legislation provides that the lessee of an agreement under the legislation is required to monitor all wells and facilities and perform all closure activities in accordance with the regulations and that following the cessation of activities the lessee can apply for a “Closure Certificate” which may or may not be issued by the Minister depending on the extent to which the Minister is satisfied that the lessee has complied with reclamation requirements under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. [s. 120]
Once a Closure Certificate has been issued by the Minister, the Crown:
- becomes the owner of the captured carbon dioxide injected pursuant to the agreement
- assumes all obligations of the lessee under the Oil and Gas Conservation Act, the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and under the Surface Rights Act, and further the Crown releases the lessee from obligations with respect to the wells within the location of the agreement used by the lessee in relation to the injection of captured carbon dioxide. [s.121]
Further, the Crown is required to indemnify a lessee against liability for damage in an action in tort brought by another party if the liability is attributable to an act done or omitted to be done by the lessee and the lessee’s exercise of rights under the agreement in relation to the injection of captured carbon dioxide and any other condition specified in the regulation are met. [s.121(1)]
A “post-closure stewardship fund” is established under the legislation, for several reasons, including “for the purpose of monitoring the behaviour of captured carbon dioxide that has been injected pursuant to an agreement under this part”, as well as for the purpose of fulfilling any obligations that are assumed by the Crown pursuant to s.121(1) and for suspension costs, abandonment costs and related reclamation or remediation costs in respect of orphan facilities where the work is carried out by the Energy Resources Conservation Board, by a person authorized by the Board or by a Director of Alberta Environment. [s.122(1)]. Provisions are made for “orphan facilities which may be designated by the Energy Resources Conservation Board and in respect of which the Minister may make a payment from the fund. [s.123]
Other consequential amendments are made to the Oil and Gas Conservation Act, the Public Lands Act, the Surface Rights Act. SRA