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Updated May 2019

Private surface agreements between landowners and energy companies operating on their property can be registered with the Alberta Energy Regulator’s (AER) Private Surface Agreements Registry (PSAR). If a landowner feels a company is not meeting a term or condition of the registered agreement, they can ask us to determine whether the company has met the term or condition of the agreement. This EnerFAQs addresses all aspects of registering a private surface agreement.

Questions:


What is a private surface agreement?
A private surface agreement (PSA) is a signed and dated written agreement between a company and an owner or occupant of land. A PSA concerns any aspect of a company’s access to or use of the owned or occupied land for the purposes of an energy resource activity, but excludes an order granted by the Surface Rights Board

Who may register a PSA?
If you own or occupy land where an energy development currently exists or is proposed to be sited and you’ve entered into a PSA with a company after November 30, 2013, which is the date the PSA process became effective, you can register a PSA with us. Groups may also register PSAs.

How do I register my PSA with the AER?
If eligible, you must complete the PSA registration form found at www.aer.ca. Once completed, submit the form and an electronic copy of your PSA to SOC@aer.ca.

What happens after a PSA is registered?
We will review the form and PSA to ensure it can be registered and send a confirmation letter with a reference number. This number must be retained to make further submissions related to your PSA. Registering a PSA doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s valid or enforceable, as we take the applicant at their word that they own the land in question. Only when we receive a request to review it do we verify its validity. A copy of the registered PSA will be sent to the company at the time of registration.

I have a new version of a PSA I previously registered. Can I replace the old one?
Yes. If you want to replace your PSA, complete a new form and indicate in the comments field that you want to replace a previously registered PSA. You must provide the original PSA registration number, which you received with the AER confirmation letter after you first registered your PSA.

Who will be able to see my PSA if I register it?
All documents we receive are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. This means that any member of the public may request a copy of the registered PSA. When submitting a PSA, you will be asked to confirm that you understand that the PSA may be available to the public.

What can I do if I feel a company isn’t meeting a term or condition of the PSA?
Several options are available to you. One of these is to make a request under section 64 of the Responsible Energy Development Act. By submitting a section 64 request, you are asking us to determine whether a company has complied with a term or condition of your PSA. Before you do so, we encourage you to contact the company directly to try to resolve the issue. You may also contact staff at your local field centre for assistance (contact information can be found at www.aer.ca).

How do I submit a section 64 request, and what happens afterwards?

If you have not done so, you must first register the associated PSA with us. Once the PSA has been registered, you must complete the section 64 request form found at www.aer.ca. Once completed, send the form and an electronic copy of any supporting documents to SOC@aer.ca

Once submitted, we will review the section 64 request to ensure it can be registered and send you a confirmation letter. A copy of the request will also be sent to the company, who will then be asked to respond. You may then be asked for additional information, documents, or materials to help us fully understand the alleged noncompliance. We will then review your request, the PSA, and the information provided and make a decision.

Can I use your alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process with a company to try to resolve my section 64 request?
Yes, you may engage in ADR at any point before or during a section 64 request. The AER will encourage you to engage in ADR once it receives a section 64 request. See our EnerFAQs All About Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for more information about the ADR process.

Who will be able to see my section 64 request if I register it?
All documents related to the section 64 request, including the PSA, will be placed on the public record.

What are the possible results of a section 64 request?
If we determine that a company has failed to comply with a term or condition of the PSA, we can issue an order to comply. If we decide that the company has complied with the PSA, we will not issue an order.

Can I withdraw a section 64 request?
Yes. Just send an email to SOC@aer.ca indicating which section 64 request you would like to withdraw.

More information on the Private Surface Agreement Registry can be found in Part 3 of the Responsible Energy Development Act and the Alberta Energy Regulator Rules of Practice.

Additional Information
For more information on the AER and its processes or if you wish to speak with your local field centre or have general questions about energy project in the province of Alberta, contact our Customer Contact Centre, Monday to Friday (8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at 1-855-297-8311 (toll free).

This document is part of the EnerFAQs series, which explains the AER’s regulations and processes as they relate to specific energy issues. Please visit www.aer.ca to read more of the EnerFAQs series.

To learn more about the AER’s role in energy development, watch our Conversations that Matter video series on YouTube or on www.aer.ca. The videos use plain language and animation to transform technical information and present it in a way that is easy to understand.

Every year we collect, compile, and publish a large amount of technical and regulatory information and data about Alberta’s energy development and resources for use by both industry and the general public. This includes raw data, statistics, application and hearing materials, and information on regulations, policies, and decisions.

Information and data may be downloaded from www.aer.ca or obtained from the AER’s Information Distribution Services (IDS). Find available AER data, reports, and services through the Products and Services Catalogue.

To place an order for information, please email InformationRequest@aer.ca or phone (403-297-8311).