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Project Application


Our estimated processing time for this application is 30 business days. See our timeline spreadsheet for updates.

Purpose of the Application

We authorize exceptions for coalbed methane (CBM) producing wells that are not currently covered by our control well requirements.

In some situations, it is too onerous for companies to designate new control wells to provide full areal or zonal coverage (e.g., CBM-producing wells developed before 2006).

For a list of valid control wells, click here.

Process Checklist

Submit an Application

Companies must submit well exception applications through our Digital Data Submission (DDS) system. We will register each application and assign a reference number.
By submitting an application, the company accepts that its information is no longer confidential.

Review Process

  1. We share all applications on our Public Notice of Application page to encourage public participation in the approval process.
  2. Anyone who believes they may be directly and adversely affected by an application can file a statement of concern (SOC). If we receive an SOC, it may take us longer to process the application.
  3. We will assign the application to a subject matter expert for initial review. If information is missing (i.e., the application is not complete), we will close the application. Otherwise, we will proceed with a full technical review. We look at
    • the location of the applied-for well or facility site. If it falls within an area covered by the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan or the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, our review will be more stringent;
    • the geological aspects of the proposed application; and
    • the reason for the request. Exceptions may be granted for the following reasons:
      • The well is a legacy well. Control wells are required for all CBM production. However, licensees may apply for exceptions to control well requirements for CBM wells producing before October 31, 2006.
      • The well is designated by the AER as a farm gas well with CBM production.
      • The well is in an area that has discontinuous coal zones where the extent of the coal cannot be reasonably predicted, mapped, or correlated.
      • The well is in an area isolated from other CBM wells.
      • The well has unproductive CBM completions.
      • No further CBM development is expected in the area.
  4. We may request additional information (through a supplemental information request) to complete our technical review.
  5. We will decide to approve, close, or deny the application. If we close it, the applicant may reapply without prejudice. If we deny it, the applicant can file an appeal through our appeal process.
  6. We will provide the applicant with a link to the letter with our decision, which is accessible through the Integrated Application Registry. We will also share our decision on our Publication of Decision page.