Our estimated processing time for appeals regarding confidential status, and requests to amend Lahee or confidentiality status, is 10 business days.
Our estimated processing time for appeals regarding Lahee classification is 30 business days.
See our timeline spreadsheet for updates.
Purpose of the Application
Every well is given a Lahee classification before it is drilled. This classification is based on the risk of drilling and the company’s expected production. The Lahee classification must be accurate because Alberta Energy uses it for royalty-based programs. It is also used to determine drill-cutting requirements.
Well confidentiality is assigned to keep well-related information confidential from the public and to protect the well licensee’s investment.
Companies are responsible for selecting the correct Lahee and confidential status for a well when submitting a well licence application. We have review and approval processes in place for
- submitting an appeal for Lahee or confidential status, or both; and
- amending a well’s Lahee or confidential status.
For wells with confidential status, we will initially assign an expected confidentiality release date of one year from the well’s finished-drilling date. We can review a well’s confidential status at any time.
If a company’s well meets the conditions for release under section 12.150 of the Oil and Gas Conservation Rules (OGCR) or section 15 of the Oil Sands Conservation Rules, our staff will revise the confidential status and will not notify the company. The company should regularly review its confidential status during the first year to ensure that the classification is accurate. We have the right to revisit and reassess a well’s confidentiality at any time during its first year.
Submit a Request
Companies must submit amendments to Lahee or confidentiality status, and issues concerning Lahee and confidential status, to GeoConfTeam@aer.ca.
- After we issue a well licence, we review each well’s Lahee classification and confidentiality status to ensure that they are technically accurate.
A Lahee classification is a “pre-spud” assignment. For each well, we look at its geological complexities, and the known existence of hydrocarbon pools in the area where the well will be drilled. We also consider
- the risk of geological failure;
- all zones to be penetrated by the well;
- all pre-existing pools, regardless of whether they have been exploited or officially designated; and
- step-out distances, which vary depending on the size and trend of pools previously encountered in the region.
We cannot accept a Lahee revision after the well has been drilled and has results (except in cases where the Lahee is being revised to a less exploratory classification).
Wells may be given an initial status of confidential, confidential below, or nonconfidential. This status can change at any time during a well’s first year, providing it meets specified criteria. There is no minimum confidentiality period, although confidential status may be granted for a maximum of one year from a well’s finished-drilling date. We look at
- whether all zones in which a designated nonconfidential AER order are present (for confidential status reviews);
- whether a well falls inside a designated nonconfidential AER order. If it does not, the well is deemed confidential;
- whether a well falls inside a designated nonconfidential AER order, but the well’s total depth is deeper. If so, the well is deemed “confidential below”;
- whether a well falls inside a designated nonconfidential AER order at total depth. If so, the well is deemed nonconfidential; and
- whether a well meets our confidentiality requirements. However, if the licensee chose the well to be nonconfidential (by intention or in error), we will not propose a greater confidential level. There are some exceptions if the well is licensed under section 2.030 of the OGCR.
- If the initial Lahee and confidential selections meet our classification requirements, no further action will be taken.
- If the initial Lahee and confidential selections do not meet our requirements, we will propose a revised classification and send a letter to the licensee. The letter will include the original selection and our proposed revision.
- The licensee has 30 days from the date on the letter to respond to the proposed revision. If we do not receive a response in 30 days, our proposed changes will be applied.
- If the licensee disagrees with our revision, they must email an appeal package to @email within the 30-day period.
The Lahee and Confidentiality Appeal Process
Every appeal package must include
- a cover letter stating the views of the licensee and any pre-spud information (e.g., maps, seismic, cross-sections) in support of keeping the original classification selection,
- the full bottom-hole unique well identifier,
- the licence number, and
- the current Lahee and confidential status.
We will review the appeal package for technical completeness. We cannot accept technical information that is submitted post-spud. In some cases, we may request supporting pre-spud information.
For appeals that do not align with sections 7.11.6 and 7.11.7 in Directive 056: Energy Development Applications and Schedules, an alternative Lahee or confidential status could be agreed on. We will review the appeal and make a decision before sending a disposition letter to the licensee.
Operator Lahee and Confidentiality Amendment Process
A licensee can submit requests for amendments to Lahee or confidential status at any time. We review each request using the Lahee and confidentiality considerations mentioned above. We will send a disposition letter to the licensee after our review is complete, and a decision has been made.