News Releases and Backgrounders
Alberta government and Metis settlements celebrate new development agreement (May 16, 2013)
Opportunities for Alberta’s Metis to more fully enjoy the benefits of resource development underscore a new agreement between the Metis Settlements General Council and Alberta government. “Responsible energy development benefits all Canadians,” said Energy Minister Ken Hughes. “With this co-management agreement in place, Alberta’s Metis settlements will have greater control over development on their lands and be able to better share in the benefits.”
Chief executive officer of new energy regulator named (April 29, 2013)
Chief Executive Officer Jim Ellis will be responsible for the operations of the new Alberta Energy Regulator, joining recently-named Board Chair Gerry Protti on the leadership team. “When we began seeking leaders for this new organization, we knew we needed people with governance, industry, and environmental knowledge, the skills to run a large organization, and a commitment to responsible development,” said Energy Minister Ken Hughes. “We are confident we have found the right team.”
ERCB systems restored: Normal business operations resume (April 22, 2013)
The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) has successfully completed testing of all of its internal and external systems affected by the April 3, production outage and has officially resumed all business operations. The ERCB is now able to receive all electronic submissions. The ERCB has been working to ensure applications are processed quickly and efficiently and has taken measures to manage the possibility of a higher-than-normal volume of electronic submissions in the coming days.
Five innovative energy pilot projects to launch (April 19, 2013)
Reducing fresh water use and enhancing oil recovery in oil sands development are among five new pilot projects supported by the Innovative Energy Technologies Program (IETP). Alberta’s oil sands hold 1.8 trillion barrels of bitumen. Only about nine per cent or 169 billion barrels are recoverable using existing technologies. “These innovative technologies hold significant potential for reducing the environmental impact of energy production and make tapping into additional reserves more viable,” said Energy Minister Ken Hughes.
ERCB working to address issues affecting electronic applications systems (April 12, 2013)
Calgary... The production outage affecting Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) application systems continues. Outside experts have been brought in and are working with staff around the clock to restore operations. It is unknown how long the service interruption will last. Incident reporting, response, and monitoring and emergency response capabilities are not impacted by this outage. The ERCB continues to carry out field surveillance activities including inspections, monitoring, and responding to landowner concerns.
Building Alberta: Budget 2013 delivers responsible change (March 7, 2013)
Budget 2013 is a prudent fiscal plan that responds to the Bitumen Bubble while continuing to deliver the responsible change Albertans expect. The budget reflects the priorities Albertans told the government are most important: building Alberta by investing in families and communities, building our savings by ensuring government lives within its means and building new markets for Alberta’s resources - across Canada and around the world.
Market Access - news release - Alberta Energy 2013-16 Business Plan
Carbon capture funding agreement cancelled (February 25, 2013)
The Alberta government and Swan Hills Synfuels have agreed to discontinue their $285 million carbon capture and storage (CCS) funding agreement. Lower than expected natural gas prices have pushed back timelines for Swan Hills Synfuels’ production of synthetic gas and associated carbon capture plans.
Province seeks input on new energy regulator (February 14, 2013)
Albertans will have a hand in building the regulations that will guide the work of the new Alberta Energy Regulator.
The regulator, which begins operations in June, marks a new phase of energy regulation for the province. Through the Responsible Energy Development Act, the province is protecting and improving participation rights for landowners, while ensuring industry has an effective and efficient regulatory process.
Government moves to protect electricity consumers (January 29, 2013)
Edmonton... Increased scrutiny of new power line costs and less volatility in month-to-month electricity prices will mean greater protection for Alberta electricity consumers. “We recognize that Albertans are concerned about all of the charges on their electricity bills,” said Ken Hughes, Minister of Alberta Energy, in announcing these changes. “We are taking thoughtful, co-ordinated steps to ensure the best of both worlds: protection for consumers, and market forces to keep costs down.” The Retail Market Review Committee Report was also released.
ERCB improves public access to hydraulic fracturing fluid information(December 19, 2012)
Calgary... Albertans will soon have online access to information on the fluids used in hydraulic fracturing operations through the FracFocus website (www.fracfocus.ca). The Energy Resources Conservation Board’s (ERCB) Directive 059: Well Drilling and Completion Data Filing Requirements has been updated to enhance reporting requirements for fluids used in hydraulic fracturing operations.
ERCB Seeking Feedback on Regulatory Approach for unconventional development (December 17, 2012)
Calgary... The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) is accepting feedback on the regulation of future unconventional resource development. Regulating Unconventional Oil and Gas in Alberta - a Discussion Paper outlines a new approach to oil and gas regulation that encourages early and meaningful stakeholder engagement, minimizes surface impacts, protects water, and maximizes resource recovery.
New energy regulator seeks leaders (December 11, 2012)
Edmonton ... The Alberta government is looking across Canada to recruit the leaders of the new agency that will regulate oil, gas, coal, and oil sands development in the province. The Alberta government is recruiting a chair and executive officer who will first serve on a transition committee, and then move into permanent roles as the Chair of the Board of Directors and the Chief Executive Officer of the Alberta Energy Regulator.
ERCB Seeking Feedback on a Draft Hydraulic Fracturing Directive (December 6, 2012)
Calgary... The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) is accepting feedback on proposed requirements for hydraulic fracturing activities. Over the last 75 years, the ERCB has developed and enforced regulations to ensure the responsible development of Alberta’s oil and gas resources. The ERCB has reviewed the challenges and opportunities related to the use of hydraulic fracturing in combination with horizontal drilling in the development of Alberta’s conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources. The ERCB is now seeking feedback on a draft directive that addresses sub-surface issues related to the increasing use of this activity.
Alberta Utilities Commission approves Western Alberta Transmission Line (December 6, 2012)
Alberta’s independent utilities regulator has approved the Western Alberta Transmission Line(WATL), with several route or tower options chosen to minimize landowner and agricultural impacts. In addition, more than 60 per cent of the approved route parallels existing lines, minimizing the project’s visual and environmental effects and disturbance of land. In Decision 2012-327, released today, the Alberta Utilities Commission approved the application from AltaLink Management Ltd. for the proposed 500-kilovolt, direct-current transmission line with associated converter stations and equipment that would extend approximately 350 km from Genesee, west of Edmonton to the Langdon area east of Calgary.
Alberta shares leading energy approach with U.S. states (December 3, 2012)
MLA Len Webber to join members of Energy Council in New Orleans
Edmonton... Alberta’s responsible energy will highlight the message that Len Webber, MLA for Calgary Foothills, will take to the Energy Council’s 2012 Global Energy and Environmental Issues Conference in New Orleans, December 6 to 9.
Albertans to benefit from new energy regulator (November 22, 2012)
Responsible Energy Development Act passes
Edmonton...The Government of Alberta is protecting the participation rights of landowners, while ensuring that industry has a more efficient and effective regulatory process. The Responsible Energy Development Act will create a single regulator for oil, gas, oil sands and coal development in the province. This legislation is the result of years of consulting with Albertans and acts on recommendations the Regulatory Enhancement Task Force made two years ago.
Albertans to benefit from a more efficient, effective regulatory system (October 24, 2012)
Province to create a new single energy regulator
Calgary... Alberta is taking a bold step that will improve the energy regulation system for landowners, industry and the environment. Bill 2, the Responsible Energy Development Act, creates a single provincial regulator for upstream energy resource activities involving oil, gas, oil sands and coal. The new regulator will be a unified one-window approach that makes it easier to navigate the system.
All future transmission projects to go through public needs assessment (October 23, 2012)
Edmonton... A new bill introduced in the Alberta Legislature would ensure that all future transmission line projects require complete review and approval by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC), not the provincial cabinet. Bill 8, the Electric Utilities Amendment Act, 2012, is based on input from Albertans and a direct response to a key recommendation in the Critical Transmission Review Committee (CTRC) report, which the province accepted in February of this year.
Alberta to establish arm's-length environmental monitoring agency (October 17, 2012)
Board appointed to begin work immediately for Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
Edmonton... Alberta will build the most comprehensive environmental monitoring program in Canada with the establishment of a new arm’s-length environmental monitoring agency. The agency will be built on credible science, research and data collection. This is the key recommendation of the independent Environmental Monitoring Working Group report released by the Alberta government. The new science-based agency will begin work in the oil sands region and will focus on what is monitored, how it’s monitored and where it’s monitored.
Calgary... The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) has contracted the services of an independent third party to conduct a review of certain elements of Alberta’s pipeline system as announced by the Honourable Ken Hughes, Minister of Energy on July 20, 2012. Group 10 Engineering Ltd. (Group 10), of Calgary, Alberta has been awarded the contract as a result of an open, competitive process which involved a Request for Proposal (RFP) through the Alberta Purchasing Connection government website.
Minister Hughes receives report on electricity market from independent committee (September 6, 2012)
Edmonton... Alberta’s Energy Minister Ken Hughes issued the following statement in response to receiving a report by the Retail Market Review Committee, the independent committee reviewing the retail electricity market in Alberta. “Yesterday, I received the Retail Market Review Committee’s 390-page report, which includes 41 recommendations. It is clear that this is a comprehensive report, and my department will now start to carefully review the recommendations. I want to thank the committee for its commitment to this review."
ERCB approves Enbridge pipeline application (August 30, 2012)
Calgary... The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) has issued Decision 2012 ABERCB 009, which approves Enbridge Inc. applications to construct and operate two pump stations and a pipeline that would transport diluted bitumen from Fort McMurray to Sherwood Park. The proposed pipeline route generally parallels several existing pipelines and is approximately 385 kilometres in length. It is proposed to transport an initial capacity of 400 000 barrels per day of diluted bitumen containing no hydrogen sulphide. Albertans help shape responsible growth for oil sands region (August 22, 2012)
Lower Athabasca Regional Plan(LARP) comes with input of thousands
Edmonton... Alberta’s first regional plan sets strong environmental limits, conserves sensitive lands, provides certainty to industry, diversifies the economy and offers numerous recreational opportunities in the Lower Athabasca region.
Alberta team focuses on investment goals in London (July 25, 2012)
Province promotes energy, tourism and culture on world stage
Edmonton...Olympic athletes won’t be the only ones pursuing their goals in London this summer. Alberta Premier Alison Redford will lead a five-day mission during the Olympics to increase investment and open new markets and opportunities for the province’s energy, tourism and cultural industries. Energy minister comments on new investment (July 23, 2012)
We welcome investment and require compliance, says Hughes
Edmonton ... Alberta’s Energy Minister Ken Hughes issued the following statement in response to the offer by Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to purchase Nexen Energy of Calgary.“Today’s potential transaction is further evidence of the vital importance of Alberta’s oil sands to meet global energy demand."