We regularly monitor and inspect energy sites, from one corner of the province to another. Every year, over 70 AER field inspectors visit thousands of Alberta’s operating wells, production and processing facilities, and pipelines. We make these visits to ensure that companies are following our requirements at every turn and are working safely.
Examining facilities and projects more closely enforces the standards and conditions that we set out in licences; approvals; and our rules, regulations, and requirements.
How We Choose Sites
Our field centres receive “to-check” lists on a regular basis from our technical experts. To create these lists, a number of factors are weighed, including the facility’s last inspection date, company history and performance, resource being produced, and site size and location. Specific factors we look at include the following:
- company performance and compliance history (including previous AER inspections)
- sensitivity of the area where the operations take place (e.g., the terrain and proximity to water bodies)
- frequency of environmental incidents in the area
- inherent risk if an incident happens
- complexity of the operation
If we find a company isn’t following the rules, requirements, and regulations, we’ll use one of our many enforcement tools. We may even suspend operations until the problem is corrected.
In addition to inspections, we regularly audit companies’ operations to ensure that they comply with our requirements. An audit is a detailed review of information that an operator provides to us (e.g., paperwork and reports). We typically perform audits after we have first approved an application, and later if we are aware of poor inspection results, public complaints, or potential risks related to a facility’s operations.
One of our many audit programs is the Enhanced Production Audit Program (EPAP). EPAP encourages companies to improve their measurement and reporting processes, while at the same time increases compliance and reduces the number of field inspections and audits that we conduct.
- EnerFAQs: Inspections and Enforcement of Energy Developments in Alberta
- Fact sheet: Assurance, Compliance, and Enforcement
- Resource story: Through an Inspector’s Eyes