Legal Header

IL 85-12: Oil Sands Primary Production: Well Spacing Primary Recovery Scheme Approvals

Release Date: Aug 01, 1985

In the transition oil sands areas, the Board and Alberta Environment have become increasingly concerned with the need for long-range planning to provide for orderly and efficient development and minimization of surface disturbance. In these areas, such as at Lindbergh, a certain amount of primary production can be achieved without or prior to the application of well stimulation enhanced recovery techniques. The Board believes that initial drilling should conform with conventional oil well spacing in the area but with reasonable flexibility to accommodate geological delineation. However, to provide for orderly and efficient conversion to the enhanced recovery mode, it is necessary to plan the development of the primary mode to match the requirements for close well spacing (2 to 4 hectares per well) and minimize surface disturbance by way of maximum use of drilling pad modules and central process facilities.

To provide for orderly development of these kinds of oil sands areas - a typical case being Lindbergh - the Board and Alberta Environment have adopted the following procedures:

    1. As a routine procedure well licences are issued for oil sands wells, for primary production, provided the location conforms with conventional oil target provisions in the area and suitable oil sands casing/cementing provisions are met and the Land Conservation and Reclamation Council have been notified prior to surface disturbance occurring on the lease.
    2. If the well is not within conventional well target spacing, the Board may grant the licence for the oil sands well provided that supporting information confirms compatibility with potential future development of the oil sands facilities in the area and the Land Conservation and Reclamation Council have been notified prior to surface disturbance occurring on the lease.
    3. The Land Conservation and Reclamation Council may be contacted in St. Paul at 645-6394 and in Wainwright at 842-5690.
  1. An operator intending to infill drill with more than one well per oil drilling spacing unit and install an array of primary production wells must apply for a "Primary Recovery Scheme Approval" and a Development and Reclamation Approval in accordance with the attached guidelines. The application must address the question of advance planning for enhanced recovery, and the development and reclamation aspects.
  2. For lands where oil sands enhanced recovery approvals have been issued (experimental or commercial in situ schemes), wells which conform with the project plans will be licensed without further detailed review. Inquiries regarding this matter should be directed to Mr. John Nichol, Oil Sands Department at 297-3110 or Mr. Larry Brocke, Land Reclamation Division at 422-2636.

<original signed by>

N. A. Strom
Board Member

<original signed by>


K. R. Smith
Assistant Deputy Minister