Legal Header

The following questions and answers are intended to supplement information on our website about private surface agreements (PSAs) and our Private Surface Agreements Registry (PSAR). If your question is not answered here, please contact our Customer Contact Centre.

If an occupant has registered an agreement and they no longer occupy the land, is there a mechanism for a company to request that the agreement be removed from the registry?
Currently, there is no mechanism for a company to request that a PSA be removed from the registry if an occupant no longer occupies the land.

If one company is bought by another, will the AER change the name on the agreement?
Currently, there is no way for a company to request a change in operator for the PSA. Any changes to the agreement would be addressed in the section 64 request process.

If the AER determines a company is noncompliant, can that decision be appealed? If so, what is the appeal process?
No. We do not have an appeal process for PSAs. Applications for permission to appeal can be made to the Court of Appeal of Alberta.

Will a PSA be linked to a specific well, facility, or pipeline licence?
A PSA will not be linked to a specific well, facility, or pipeline licence.

Once a reclamation certificate is filed, will the agreement be removed from the registry?
A PSA will be closed in the registry if an owner or occupant requests it or the agreement expires.

How does the PSAR fit with the Surface Rights Board and the Surface Rights Act?
There have been no changes to the jurisdiction of the Surface Rights Board or to the Surface Rights Act as a result of the PSAR. The PSAR is simply an additional option available to landowners and occupants.

Is there a timeline within which a company must respond to a section 64 request?
When we notify a company of a section 64 request, the dates by which a company should respond to the request will be indicated in the notice.

How do I request public information related to a PSA?
You can request a copy of a PSA from our Products and Services Catalogue by company name, location of the energy resource activity, or the PSA registration number.

Does the AER consider First Nations an occupant of the land on Crown land?
Parties who meet the definition of owner or occupant as defined in Responsible Energy Development Act are eligible to register a PSA.

Can a PSA be between two companies where one is the landowner and the other does the development? What about an agreement between a city or town and a company?
As long as a party can be defined as an owner or occupant as outlined in Responsible Energy Development Act, they may register a PSA.

Will the AER consider disagreements that are related to compensation?
For disagreements related to compensation, we may refer the dispute to the Surface Rights Board or refer the parties to the Court of Appeal of Alberta if we believe it is a more appropriate forum.

How long will the AER hold onto a PSA?
A PSA will remain active in the PSAR until we are made aware it has expired or the owner or occupant asks to have it closed in the registry.

If there is an amendment to an agreement, does that mean the original agreement will be updated in the registry?
An owner or occupant may send in an amendment, and the original agreement will be updated.

Will the PSA form part of the confirmation of nonobjections?
A PSA will only be considered for the purposes of a section 64 request.

Will the landowner be responsible for knowing the original PSA reference number?
Owners and occupants should keep a record of the PSA registration number and use it in all correspondence relating to it.

Why is there no expiry date on a PSA? Wouldn’t that keep the registry up to date?
An expiry date can be entered if one exists on the agreement being registered.

If the agreement has an assignment clause, will the AER recognize and accept that clause?
Any assignment clause would be considered part of a section 64 request.

Is there a searchable database of PSAs?
No. Currently there is no searchable database of PSAs.

Can a landowner include conditions in its PSA that address other interests on their land?
If an agreement meets the definition of a PSA as defined in the Responsible Energy Development Act, it may be registered even if it contains terms that deal with other matters.

Will dollar amounts be shown on the lease if requested through the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP) process?
Each FOIP request will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Are transitional occupants eligible to file an agreement on the PSAR (e.g., agricultural leases)?
If a party meets the definition of owner or occupant outlined in the Responsible Energy Development Act, they are eligible to register a PSA.

Will there be consequences if a section 64 request has been submitted without merit?
We will close the request if it is found to be without merit.

What happens if a company does not comply with an order to comply under section 64?
We may consider enforcement action if a company does not comply with an order.

Will the AER provide alternative dispute resolution regarding section 64 disputes?
Alternative dispute resolution will be an option available to parties for section 64 requests.

Is a landowner charged for making a section 64 request?
No. There is no charge for making a section 64 request.

When is a company notified of a section 64 request?
The company will be notified once a section 64 request is registered.

Will a section 64 decision trigger a regulatory appeal?
A section 64 request will not trigger a regulatory appeal.

Are section 64 requests publicly available immediately after they are submitted to the AER or only after the AER has reviewed them?
Once a section 64 request has been registered, it is available on the public record.

What recourse does a company have when a landowner is not cooperating with a condition of the PSA?
Only a person or group of people who have entered into a PSA with a company may make a request under section 64 to review the PSA.

Who can view the surface agreements in the PSAR?
All documents related to the PSA are available through a FOIP request once a section 64 request has been made. Information may be redacted from the records provided to the FOIP applicant, as required or permitted by law.

If the operator and the landowner have agreed in writing that a PSA cannot be registered, will the AER still register it?
Yes. The Responsible Energy Development Act allows agreements to be registered even if a confidentiality provision exists.