ID 91-03

ID 91-03: Heavy Oil/Oil Sands Operations

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Heavy Oil/Oil Sands Operations

Mar 28, 1991

Note: Note: Sections 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8, 4.9, 4.10, and 4.11 have been revised or rescinded with the release of Directive 017 in February 2005. The Clarification to this ID that was released May 10, 2001, has been rescinded by the release of Directive 017.

Note: With release of the June 2004 edition of Directive 036:
1) All references to Class 1A BOP systems in Section 1 of this ID now refer to the Class 1 Blowout Preventer Systems as illustrated in Directive 036, Appendix 3.
2) ID 91-3, Section 1.2.1(3): Class 1A BOP System has been modified and incorporated in Directive 036, Section 6.4.2: Daily and Weekly and Section 7.1.1: Class 1 Wells.

Note: Effective June 16, 2014, sections 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3(1) and figure 1 have been rescinded and superseded by the April 2014 edition of Directive 060 (announced in AER Bulletin 2014-13).


This directive amends certain minimum regulatory requirements for

  • the drilling and servicing of heavy oil/in situ oil sands wells,
  • equipment and spacing in the production of heavy oil/in situ oil sands, and
  • measurement and accounting for heavy oil/in situ oil sands.

Heavy oil, for the purpose of this directive, is a crude oil product with a density of 920 kg/m3 or greater at 15o C. This crude oil density incorporates most of the areas of east-central Alberta, Figure 1, where heavy oil production operations are normally considered to occur.

Oil sands areas, Figure I, are defined in ERCB Informational Letters IL 84-7 and IL 89-3.

These regulatory amendments are a result of the Board's review of the recommendations from the Operating Practices Steering Committee (OPSC) for Heavy Oil/Oil Sands Operations. The OPSC has also developed Alberta Recommended Practices (ARPs) for heavy oil/oil sands operations which will be available from the Petroleum Industry Training Service in April 1991. The Board recognizes that this directive to some extent overlaps the procedures and equipment outlined in the ARPs. However, the Board considers it necessary to formally regulate those matters listed in this directive.

Unless exempted by this directive or ERCB approval, heavy oil/oil sands operations shall be conducted in accordance with the Oil and Gas Conservation Regulations and the Oil Sands Conservation Regulations.

Further information regarding this interim directive may be obtained from the Board or the applicable area office.

This directive is effective 1 April 1991.

<original signed by>

E.J. Morin
Board Member