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Our Expanding Mandate

Under the direction of the Government of Alberta, the Alberta Energy Regulator's (AER's) mandate is expanding from oil, oil sands, natural gas, and coal to include additional areas of resource development, such as geothermal, once proclaimed, minerals.

Once the Government of Alberta enacts the legislation and regulations, we will develop the rules and directives to regulate each new area of resource development. The directives will ensure that development is carried out to protect public safety and the environment while ensuring that the regulatory system is as efficient as possible.

Background

In 2020, the Government of Alberta announced the opportunity to develop emerging energy and mineral resources in Alberta. This work is part of the government's economic recovery effort to relaunch and diversify Alberta's economy.

Alberta Energy and Alberta Environment and Parks began work on diversifying the province's resource sector by developing legislation that would establish the AER as the primary regulator for new areas of resource development within Alberta. 

New Resource Potential

Geothermal Resource Development

Opportunity exists within Alberta for industry to safely harness clean geothermal energy using emerging made-in-Alberta technology that builds on Alberta’s strengths to develop geothermal energy:

  • our geology
  • the ability to repurpose inactive oil and gas wells, well sites, and infrastructure for geothermal use
  • leadership and innovation in drilling technology
  • extensive oil and gas expertise and a well-established service sector

Furthermore, the Alberta Energy Regulator’s experience and expertise as an oil and gas regulator will also enable geothermal development to benefit Albertans.

As of August 15, 2022, the requirements that industry must follow for developing deep geothermal resources throughout their life cycle came into effect.

Mineral Resource Development

The Government of Alberta’s plan to diversify the energy and resource sector includes mineral resource development. Once proclaimed, Bill 82 Mineral Resource Development Act will establish the AER as the life cycle regulator for Alberta’s mineral resources. Regulatory oversight for minerals is currently split among multiple entities. As the primary regulator for energy development within the province, the AER is well positioned to take on this responsibility. Our mandate is to ensure the safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development of oil, oil sands, natural gas, and coal resources over their entire life cycle. This includes allocating and conserving water resources, managing public lands, and protecting the environment while providing economic benefits for all Albertans. 

Managing Liability

We are committed to building programs, systems, and processes to help prevent unfunded liability throughout the life cycle of resource development. We work collaboratively with governments and companies to develop and implement liability management programs for our regulated resource sectors, helping protect Albertans from potential environmental costs associated with the closure of resource projects. 

We are continuously refining the liability management framework for energy developments and will make information available as developments occur. For more information, see liability management for geothermal resource development. 

Providing Feedback

As we develop new requirements, we will seek input from stakeholders and Indigenous communities to help us shape the regulatory instruments for emerging resources.

Engagement events and public comment periods are posted on our website. You can subscribe to aer.ca email updates, and you can follow us on our social media channels to stay informed.

Once we start accepting applications, there are several ways to have your say and to get involved with proposed projects that may affect you.