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New Edition of Directive 020, AER Bulletin 2023-32

Link to Decision Summarized

Oil and Gas – Well Abandonment

On September 5, 2023, the Alberta Energy Regulator (“AER”) released a new edition of Directive 020: Well Abandonment (“Directive 020”), which sets out the requirements for routine abandonment of wells penetrating an oil sands zone. Amendments to s 5.4 of Directive 020 changed the requirements for abandoning cased-hole wells penetrating an oil sands zone. S 5.3  allows for routine abandonment, if the subject well meets the following criteria for low thermal potential:

  • The well must be within the boundary of an oil sands area that the AER has assessed as having a low potential for thermal development;
  • A qualified geoscientist has determined the well has a low potential for thermal development; and
  • The AER has approved a variance for nonthermal well abandonment within an oil sands area.

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