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Reconsideration of Northwestern Utilities Ltd. As Licensee of Record of Certain Wells Previously Held by the Lloydminster Development Company, AER Application 1934332

Link to Decision Summarized

Responsibility for Wells

In this decision, the AER determined it is appropriate to reconsider, without a hearing, its 1985 decision to transfer responsibility for certain wells previously licensed to the Lloydminster Development Company (“LDC”) to Northwestern Utilities Ltd (“NUL”) when NUL amalgamated with the Lloydminster Gas Company (“LGC”). The AER further decided to revoke its 1985 decision and correct its records to remove NUL as the licensee of record for wells not licensed to LGC before amalgamation. The 46 wells subject to this reconsideration decision (the “LDC Wells”) are listed in Appendix 1 to the AER’s decision.

Background

LDC and LGC were related but distinct entities, sharing a business associate (“BA”) code. Years after their registration, LGC and NUL amalgamated into one entity, NUL. The AER noted that when amalgamated, the responsibility for all wells associated with the shared BA codes was transferred to NUL in the system of the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board and the Energy Resource Conservation Board (the “Regulator”), the predecessors to the AER.

The AER reviewed the records related to the LDC Wells, including the licenses, drilling reports, and reclamation certificates, and found that LGC was not the last licensee of any of the LDC Wells.

The AER noted that Section 42 of the Responsible Energy Development Act (“REDA”) provides it with authority to reconsider its decision. It noted that it would only exercise this discretion under the most extraordinary circumstances, where it is satisfied there are exceptional and compelling grounds to do so. The AER has determined such circumstances exist here.

The AER found that when NUL and LGC amalgamated, responsibility for the LDC Wells was transferred to NUL because LDC and LGC shared a BA code. However, the requirement that a licensee holds a BA code was not introduced until 2000, after the amalgamation and after the LDC Wells had been abandoned or reclaimed. LDC and LGC sharing a BA code was not a reason that justified transferring responsibility for the LDC Wells to NUL. Accordingly, the AER found that extraordinary circumstances exist that provide exceptional and compelling grounds for the AER to exercise its discretion to reconsider, without a hearing, the Regulator’s decision to transfer responsibility for the LDC Wells to NUL.

Decision on Reconsideration

The AER determined that there is no reason to identify NUL as the licensee of record for the LDC Wells. Accordingly, the AER revoked that 1985 decision to transfer responsibility for the LDC Wells to NUL. The AER noted that this reconsideration does not relieve ATCO Gas and Pipelines, as NUL’s successor of any obligation it may have under Part 5 of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.

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