Alberta’s energy sector is vast and complex: it includes crude oil, natural gas, oil sands, and coal resources, and an extensive pipeline network that moves these resources to markets. Ensuring that companies operate in a safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible manner is no simple task.
This is where we come in. As Alberta’s sole regulator of the energy industry, the AER keeps energy companies in check as they develop resources across the province. The Government of Alberta gives us authority to ensure that companies develop the province’s massive energy resources in a safe and environmentally responsible fashion, and without waste. We’re involved at every stage of an energy project’s life cycle.
What We Oversee
Alberta has been and remains the largest producer of natural gas and oil in Canada. In fact, we oversee some of the largest established energy reserves worldwide.
It takes a lot of infrastructure to produce, mine, process, and move all those resources to markets. We’re responsible for regulating this infrastructure, which includes pipelines, wells, processing plants and facilities, in situ projects, bitumen upgraders, oil sands mines, and coal mines.
How We Do It
- We review applications and make decisions on tens of thousands of proposed energy developments each year.
- We oversee all aspects of energy resource activities in accordance with government policies.
- We regularly inspect energy activities to ensure that all applicable requirements are met.
- We penalize companies that fail to comply with our requirements.
- We hold hearings on proposed energy developments.
- We continuously look for ways to improve our regulatory system so that it is efficient, adaptive to the global market and technology changes that affect the industry, and demonstrates Alberta’s competitiveness.
To make this all happen, the AER employs 1200 inspectors, technical staff, engineers, geologists, scientists, investigators, stakeholder engagement specialists, mediators, lawyers, regulatory experts, and other employees in 15 offices and field centres around Alberta.
What We Don’t Regulate
Our responsibilities as a regulator are limited to activities that relate to oil, bitumen, natural gas, and coal development. We have no authority over any of the following:
- gasoline or other refined petroleum products
- oil and gas pipelines that cross provincial or international borders (these are regulated by the Canadian Energy Regulator)
- any aspect of electricity generation or distribution, including renewable energies
- the price of natural gas (these are regulated by the Alberta Utilities Commission, or AUC)
- gas utility pipelines (again, these are regulated by the AUC, although the AER does inspect these pipelines and provide incident response on the AUC’s behalf)
Learn more about us by reading our EnerFAQs What is the AER?