Our estimated processing time for this application is 60 business days. See our timeline spreadsheet for updates.
Purpose of the Application
We regulate the use of public land in Alberta for oil sands exploration activities under the following legislation:
- Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act – The Code of Practice for Exploration Operations is made under this act.
- Public Lands Act – Section 20 authorizes the use of public land for exploration.
Under section 3.1 of the Code of Practice for Exploration Operations, companies must notify us of oil sands exploration activities on private/patented lands.
Before applying for oil sands exploration, we recommend applicants read Manual 008: Oil Sands and Coal Exploration Application Guide for information on our application requirements and processes, and expected timelines for oil sands exploration programs.
Before we can approve an exploration program, the company must also hold subsurface rights or prove its right to work with the mineral.
Submit an Application
Companies must submit their applications for oil sands exploration on public land by email to AERSurfaceActivityApplication@aer.ca. Applications must include all required documentation in Schedules 1 and 2 of the Code of Practice for Exploration Operations.
Companies must submit notifications for oil sands exploration on private/patented lands to EPEA.WA.Applications@aer.ca.
- We share all applications on our Public Notice of Application page to encourage public participation in the approval process. We do not issue public notices for oil sands exploration activities on private land.
- Anyone who believes that 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.
- 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 may request additional information (through a supplemental information request) to complete our technical review.
- 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.
- We will provide the applicant with a link to the letter with our decision, which is accessible for 30 days through the Integrated Application Registry. We will also share our decision on our Publication of Decision page.