Program Overview

This program, developed in consultation with landowners, industry and other affected stakeholders, ensures that land in Alberta used for oil and gas development is restored to a productive state.

Under this program, all upstream oil and gas sites on private and public land must be reclaimed when a site is no longer productive.

The company that owns a well or pipeline that is no longer productive is responsible for reclaiming the land, addressing surface reclamation issues and subsurface contamination and applying to Alberta Environment and Parks for a reclamation certificate.

Once standards are met, the department issues the reclamation certificate.

More than 40,500 well sites and 24,000 km of pipeline in Alberta are no longer in production and require reclamation certificates. In addition, 213,000 active well sites across the province and approximately 15,000 new wells being drilled each year will ultimately require reclamation certificates.

Reclamation Certificates

The department accepts applications for reclamation certificates year round. Each application must include an analysis of contamination, a report detailing how contaminants were remediated and how surface issues such as soil replacement and re-vegetation were addressed.

The department conducts audits through field inspections at approximately 15 per cent of the sites that receive a reclamation certificate to ensure that all standards and guidelines have been met.

Reclamation certificates issued after can be cancelled at audited sites or following a landowner/occupant complaint, if the site does not meet the remediation requirements or reclamation criteria.

Environmental Assurance

Under this reclamation and remediation program, industry has a 25-year liability for surface reclamation issues (topography, vegetation, soil texture, drainage, etc.) and a lifetime liability for contamination. (These liability periods are under review.)

Industry is required to provide landowners/occupants with copies of all reclamation and remediation information. A form is available to help landowners or occupants with filing a complaint, which can be filed at any time during construction, operation, reclamation, or following reclamation of a site. All complaints are investigated. Substantiated complaints may lead to cancellation of a reclamation certificate.


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Updated: Jan 16, 2018