The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has accepted all recommendations within its jurisdiction made by the independent panel which conducted the Peace River proceeding to examine odours and emissions from heavy oil operations in the Peace River area.
“In July 2013, I called for a proceeding to examine odours and emissions in the Peace River area to ensure residents had an opportunity to express their concerns in a public form that included a review of industry practices and potential solutions to this issue,” said AER president and chief executive officer (CEO) Jim Ellis. “We will take immediate action to address the panel’s recommendations and work to address odour issues in the Peace River area. Companies who fail to meet these new requirements will face enforcement action.”
To address the panel’s recommendations, the AER is taking immediate action:
- All existing heavy oil and bitumen operations in the Three Creeks and Reno areas are required to capture produced gas by August 15, 2014.
- All new licensed heavy oil and bitumen operations in the Peace River area are required to capture produced gas by May 15, 2014.
- Operators in the Seal Lake and Walrus areas must submit a report to the AER by June 15, 2014, which will outline actions for the reduction and eventual elimination of venting in these areas.
- An immediate review of AER requirements for operators in the Peace River area to collect and submit geological data from bitumen deposits is underway.
- Recommendations outside the AER’s jurisdiction have been shared with all appropriate government departments. The AER will provide assistance in the implementation of these recommendations.
To address one of the panel’s recommendations, a revised version of Directive 060: Upstream Petroleum Industry Flaring, Incinerating, and Venting was issued today. The revised directive, which will become effective on June 16, 2014, strengthens regulations to reduce impacts related to flaring, venting and incineration and to increase opportunities for gas conservation in Alberta.
The AER is developing a strategy to meet all of the proceeding panel’s recommendations within its jurisdiction not immediately addressed by the actions announced today. This includes strategies to reduce upset/emergency flaring and fugitive emissions and increase gas conservation in the Peace River area. The AER will explore opportunities with the Government of Alberta to establish and expand a regional air quality monitoring program.
The AER will inform all stakeholders as recommendations are implemented and provide updates on recommendations that take longer to implement.
The proceeding was called by AER President and CEO Jim Ellis in July 2013. On March 31, 2014, the independent panel of AER hearing commissioners issued a report that set out 20 recommendations. The panel’s recommendations and the AER’s response are available at www.aer.ca.
The Alberta Energy Regulator ensures the safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development of hydrocarbon 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.