If all goes as planned, by December 2013 the AER will have assumed regulatory functions not only from the ERCB, but from AESRD and Alberta Energy, thereby becoming Alberta’s single regulator for upstream oil, gas, oil sands and coal development.
In the June 2013 edition of our Oil and Gas Bulletin (found here), we discussed the proclamation of the Responsible Energy Development Act (“REDA”) as of June 17, 2013, save and except for Part 3 and other specified sections.1; As stated in that Bulletin, at this time, the soon to be single regulator, the Alberta Energy Regulator (the “AER”), has only assumed the energy development regulatory functions formerly administered by the Energy Resources Conservation Board (the “ERCB”). The AER’s assumption of regulatory functions and responsibilities from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (“AESRD”) under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, the Water Act and the Public Lands Act, and from Alberta Energy under Part 8 of the Mines and Minerals Act, will only occur, and the enforcement of “private surface agreements” under Part 3 of REDA will only become available, once the corresponding sections of REDA have been proclaimed in force.
In our July 2013 Oil and Gas Alert (found here), we reported on further developments in connection with REDA and the AER.2 In that Alert we referred to an AER News Release dated June 17, 2013 which referred to the launch of the AER on June 17 as “the first step in a [three phase] approach towards full implementation of the AER, with additional regulatory functions to be added over the coming months”. We stated that while it is not entirely clear what steps will comprise the other two phases, the proclamation of Part 3 of REDA and the sections dealing with the AER’s assumption of regulatory functions and responsibilities from AESRD and Alberta Energy, are expected to comprise one or both of these.
This has now been confirmed, and details regarding the timing of the implementation of phases 2 and 3 have been disclosed.
In a presentation delivered September 26, 2013 at the Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada 2013 Air Issues Forum, Jim Ellis, Chief Executive Officer of the AER, is reported to have stated:3
The sustainable resource development personnel are being folded into the new agency and Phase 2 - the geophysical, public lands, landowner registry and enhanced participation by Albertans – is to be in place by December.
Phase 3 – the Water Act and the Environmental Protection Act – will also enter the AER at that time…
As a result, provided the December timeframe is not extended, as of December 2013, the AER will have added to the regulatory functions it has already assumed from the ERCB, those functions of AESRD and Alberta Energy which are set out above, thereby becoming the single regulator for energy development in Alberta.