Play-Based Regulation Pilot Project


Play-Based Regulation Pilot Project

Play-Based Regulation Pilot Project

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) is committed to ensuring that Alberta’s energy resources are developed in a safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible manner over their entire life cycle. Energy regulation in Alberta spans more than 75 years and has evolved over time.

The AER regularly reviews its requirements to ensure that Alberta’s energy industry is regulated in the most effective way possible. Through the play-based regulation initiative (PBR), the AER will be piloting a new framework to govern unconventional oil and gas development. 

Through the pilot project, the AER expects to learn the benefits and challenges play-based regulation creates, and it will encourage effective engagement of full energy-industry project plans. This information sharing will lead to greater understanding of each stakeholder’s perspective, assure early integration of local knowledge, and allow input on development planning at a play level. 

The play-based regulation pilot project will

  • establish subsurface reservoir management requirements for the pilot area that are relevant to unconventional resource development;
  • implement application and decision-making processes for several activities under different pieces of legislation;
  • encourage applicants to collaborate on surface development plans and participate in the pilot in order to
    • minimize the number of facilities and other surface impacts during the pilot, and
    • ensure that effective practices are used to minimize fresh water use and optimize water reuse;
  • ensure transparency by engaging stakeholders on the play-based regulation approach throughout the pilot; and
  • explain the costs and benefits of implementing the play-based approach.

The AER’s play-based regulation pilot project builds off of the work completed under the Energy Resources Conservation Board’s Unconventional Regulatory Framework discussion paper in 2012. Regulating Unconventional Oil and Gas in Alberta - A Discussion Paper outlined a vision of the future state of unconventional resource regulation in Alberta that considers the cumulative effects of development, water and waste management, air quality, and public safety. The paper described a play-focused approach to regulation, describing the impacts associated with unconventional development as well as when and how the regulator will apply science-based, risk-assessed, play-based regulation.

To provide your feedback about the PBR pilot, please complete an online survey or contact