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Our estimated processing time for this application is 35 business days. See our timeline spreadsheet for updates.

Purpose of the Application

We regulate well spacing to promote resource conservation. Our requirements affect how many wells can be placed within a defined pool or formation. They are also used to set a well's target area. In addition to ensuring orderly and efficient development, these requirements also help protect equity among mineral rights owners.

Our regulations for well spacing are governed by the Oil and Gas Conservation Rules (OGCR) and the Oil and Gas Conservation Act (OGCA). Our requirements are set out in Unit 7 of Directive 065: Resources Applications for Oil and Gas Reservoirs.

In certain cases, energy companies may wish to deviate from the AER's baseline well spacing requirements. Under section 79(4) of the OGCA, we will consider applications for special well spacing that differ from the baseline requirements established by the OGCR, such as modifying a wells standard target area.

Process Checklist

Before Applying
A company submitting a spacing application must meet our requirements in section 7.3.2 of Directive 065. The minimum criteria for an application to be processed should also be reviewed before submitting an application. These criteria are set out in section 7.4 of Directive 065.

For applications to rescind a Special DSU, rescind a Holding, or modify a Holding, minimum criteria for these applications are set out in sections,, and of Directive 065.

Please note the following:

  • Our approval does not authorize drilling of wells or construction of related facilities. Additional approvals from us or other government agencies are required to drill oil and gas wells.
  • A block of land that contains multiple connected DSUs of common ownership can be developed without a special well spacing approval, limited only by the standard target area on the external boundaries of that block of land.
  • As per Bulletin 2021-14, section 4.021(1) of the OGCR were modified on April 09, 2021 to remove specific well spacing prescriptions from the rules. Any special well spacing approvals granted under Directive 065 will remain in effect until operators apply to rescind them.

Submit an Application
Companies must submit their applications through our Digital Data Submission (DDS) system. We will register each application and assign it a reference number.

By submitting an application, the company accepts that its information is no longer confidential.

Things to Remember

  • Under Section 5.190(3) of the OGCR, applications must demonstrate that
    • recovery will be improved,
    • additional wells are necessary to provide capacity to drain the pool at a reasonable rate that will not adversely affect the recovery of the pool, and
    • the proposed holding would be in a pool in a substantial part of which there are existing drilling spacing units or holdings with similar provisions.
  • Under section 1.020(2)(4) of the OGCR and unit 7 of Directive 065, holdings and units must be composed of whole and connected DSUs, and the ownership must be considered common at both the lessor and lessee levels.

Review Process

  1. We share all applications on our Public Notice of Application page to encourage public participation in the approval process.
  2. Anyone who believes that they may be directly and adversely affected by an application can file a statement of concern (SOC). If we receive an SOC, it may take us longer to process the application.
  3. We will assign the application to a subject-matter expert for initial review. If information is missing (i.e., the application does not meet Directive 065 criteria set out in section 7.4), we will close the application. Otherwise, we will proceed with a full technical review. We review the following:
    • distance of the proposed application areas to previously approved spacing for the same formations and substance
    • proposed provisions
    • available production, reservoir, and geological information within the area of the application and offsetting areas; this analysis is not limited to the information submitted by the applicant and may include analysis of additional wells and information
    • impact of the proposed well spacing on resource recovery
    • typical performance of existing wells
    • existing and proposed development within the area of application
    • conservation risks
    • pool depletion
    • reservoir management
  4. For modified and rescinded spacing applications, we assess whether criteria in sections,, and of Directive 065 are met.
  5. We may request additional information (through a supplemental information request) to complete our technical review.
  6. We will decide to approve, close, or deny the application. If we close it, the applicant may reapply without prejudice. If we deny it, the applicant can file an appeal through our appeal process.
  7. We will provide the applicant with a link to the letter with our decision, which is accessible through the Integrated Application Registry. After this period, the disposition document and a copy of the application can be ordered by emailing @email or calling 403-297-8311. We will also share our decision on our Publication of Decision page.