Enhanced Approval Process

Enhanced Approval Process Updates

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The Enhanced Approval Process (EAP) is the application process for the issuance of oil and gas development related surface land dispositions by Environment and Parks (AEP).

Applicable Activity Types

The scope of the EAP allows MSL, LOC (access), PLA and PIL applications for oil and gas developments (e.g., single or multi-well pad; associated road; buried pipeline; pipelines installations) on public land. New to the EAP (March 1, 2012) are the following oil and gas developments:

  • Un-conventional gas developments (including tight gas, shale gas, and liquids rich gas)
  • In situ cold flow (defined as primary production wells that produce crude bitumen that will flow to a well without thermal energy)

Information on how to apply through the EAP, pre-requisites to the process, and using the Landscape Analysis Tool, is outlined in the documents on the webpage referenced below. A training video is also available to guide new users. The expanded scope of the EAP will be reflected in the manuals during the next scheduled update this spring.

Unconventional gas developments (tight gas, shale gas, and liquids rich gas) and in situ cold flow applications currently submitted using the Environmental Field Report (EFR) are encouraged to continue through the EFR process to eliminate unforeseen delays with this change in process. By May 1, 2012, these developments must use the EAP.

Applications for coal bed methane development (although also considered unconventional gas) have been included in the EAP since September 2010. There is no change to how these applications are processed.

Activities that continue to be excluded from the scope of EAP include thermal in situ oil sands operations, oil sands mines, regulated pipelines (where the pipeline project length (in km) multiplied by the outside pipe diameter (in mm) equals or is greater than an index value of 2,690), and all non-oil and gas developments such as forestry roads, sand and gravel operations, seismic exploration programs, and easements. These activity types must continue to use the existing approval/application process for the activity (e.g., Environmental Field Report; Geophysical Field Report).

Land Types

Lands under the jurisdiction of other agencies and Ministries are not a part of the Landscape Analysis Tool (LAT) because the EAP framework cannot guarantee all jurisdictional and stakeholder requirements will be followed. As such, a LAT report cannot be generated for the following land types:

  • Wildland Provincial Parks
  • Willmore Wilderness Park
  • Provincial Parks
  • Provincial Recreation Areas
  • Special Areas
  • National Parks
  • Treaty First Nations Lands
  • Metis Settlements
  • Canadian Forces bases (with exceptions, see below)
  • Natural Areas
  • Wilderness Areas
  • Heritage Rangelands
  • Ecological Reserves
  • Private lands

AEP does not administer or approve land use in Wildland Parks, Wilmore Wilderness Area, Provincial Parks, Provincial Recreation Areas, Special Areas, National Parks, Treaty First Nations Lands, Metis Settlements or Canadian Forces bases (see exceptions below) because they are under the jurisdiction of other agencies or Ministries. Neither EAP or EFR applications for activity on these land types will be not be accepted by AEP.

AEP does administer land use on the Cold Lake and Wainwright Air Weapons Range; however activities on these lands will not generate a LAT Report. To ensure that land use requirements agreed to with the Department of National Defence (Canada) are adhered to, the EFR process must be used. Until such time the EAP has been revised to address this risk, all activities on the Canadian Forces bases, including Cold Lake and Wainwright Air Weapons Ranges, is excluded from the EAP and the LAT.

AEP does administer land use on the Natural Areas, Wilderness Areas, Ecological Reserves and Heritage Rangeland types of parks; however activities on these lands will not generate a LAT Report. For these types of parks, the lands are excluded from the EAP and the LAT.

To review a flowchart and overview of the EAP and its functions, see:

Advantages of the EAP

It is part of AEP's mandate to enhance Alberta's economic competitiveness. We are partnering with other ministries to streamline the regulatory framework for the upstream oil and gas sector, reduce red tape, and make it easier for Albertans and investors to work with government.

The Enhanced Approval Process will be an advantage to industry by providing:

  • Clarity around the requirements at the start of your project
  • A streamlined approval process for standard applications
  • Opportunities for integrated land management practices by promote a high standard of stewardship and encouraging footprint management


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Updated: Mar 22, 2016