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IOGC: Information Letter – Implementation of Section 78 Abandonment, Remediation, and Reclamation Requirements

Press Release

This Information Letter outlines regulatory abandonment, remediation, and reclamation requirements, including response timelines, for lands that are no longer being used for their original purpose. The holder of the surface contract, referred to throughout this Information Letter as “surface contract holder”, is responsible for meeting these requirements.

On this page

Regulatory context

Oil and gas development within First Nation lands is a temporary activity. Lands within a surface contract must be returned to the First Nation in a timely manner and in an agreed upon condition.

As required by section 78, Surface contract holders must undertake abandonment, remediation, and reclamation when their surface contract isn’t being used for its intended purpose, such as producing oil or gas. Examples of situations that trigger this requirement include, but are not limited to:

  • a wellsite that has been downhole or surface abandoned
  • a facility that has been surface abandoned
  • a well that has been zonally abandoned and the surface contract holder retains no other subsurface rights
  • a surface contract where the associated subsurface rights were surrendered, expired, cancelled, or otherwise terminated

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Requirements and timelines

IOGC is reviewing surface contracts for eligible candidates and will start sending notices to surface contracts holders (Notice) starting April 2023.

The following response timelines take effect when the surface contract holder receives a Notice.

60 calendar days:

  • contact the First Nation and discuss the abandoning and reclaiming of the site
  • submit Notice receipt confirmation to IOGC

150 calendar days:

  • submit a Site Closure Plan to the First Nation and to IOGC for approval

1 year and every year thereafter:

  • submit an Annual Site Closure Progress Report to the First Nation and IOGC
  • due December 31 of each subsequent year

5 years:

  • submit a Reclamation Application to the First Nation and IOGC
Failure to complySurface contract holders that do not fulfill the Notice requirements will have their surface contract placed into non-compliance and referred to IOGC’s Audit, Compliance and Enforcement unit.

Surface contract holders may also be subject to legal proceedings and an administrative monetary penalty up to $10,000 for each violation.

Site closure plans

A specific form is not available or required. Surface contract holders must submit a Site Closure Plan that contains the following information.

Location:

  • name of First Nation reserve lands
  • IOGC surface contract number
  • legal land location
  • survey plan of site

Contacts information:

  • company representative
  • First Nation representative
  • third-party consultants (if applicable)

End land use:

  • pre-disturbance conditions
  • desired end land use of the site, such as agricultural, forested, native prairie, peatlands

Important note: a Band Council Resolution (BCR) is required when pre-disturbance conditions differ from targeted end land use; see environmental requirements for more information.

First Nation engagement:

  • describe how the First Nation will be engaged throughout the site closure program
  • describe how Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) will be integrated into site closure work

Type of work to be conducted:

  • type of site closure work to be carried out, such as surface well abandonment, remediation, reclamation
  • specify if the entire surface contract is being reclaimed or if the First Nation has requested some portions be left in place, such as an access road

Closure details, project scope, and schedule:

  • key project steps, including timelines with proposed start and completion dates

Annual site closure progress reports

A specific form is not available or required. Surface contract holders must submit an Annual Site Closure Progress Report that contains the following information.

Location:

  • name of First Nation reserve lands
  • IOGC surface contract number
  • legal land location

Contact information:

  • company representative
  • First Nation representative
  • third-party consultants (if applicable)

Milestones and updates to site closure plans:

  • brief description of key site closure achievements completed in the past year
  • changes to the overall closure program work and timelines
  • rationale for any changes to the Site Closure Plan

Photographic record of work:

  • photographs of the work completed to date

Submissions

Questions or general communications can be sent by email to [email protected]; all other submissions must be sent as specified below.

Notice receipt confirmationMust be sent to IOGC by one of the following methods:

Email:

  • [email protected]
    SUBJECT LINE: Section 78 Receipt – [ First Nation Name ] – [ IOGC surface contract number ]

Mail:

  • Lease Administration Unit
    Indian Oil and Gas Canada
    100-9911 Chiila Blvd
    Tsuut’ina AB T3T 0E1
Site Closure Plans and Annual Site Closure Progress ReportsMust be sent to the First Nation and IOGC as specified below.

First Nation:

  • Chief and Council
    [ Name of First Nation ]
    c/o Oil and Gas Representative
    [ mailing address or email address, as specified by the First Nation ]

IOGC:

  • [email protected]
    SUBJECT LINE: Section 78 – [ First Nation Name ] – [ IOGC surface contract number ]
Remediation Action Plans and Reclamation ApplicationsMust be sent to the First Nation and IOGC as specified below.

First Nation:

  • Chief and Council
    [ Name of First Nation ]
    c/o Oil and Gas Representative
    [ mailing address or email address, as specified by the First Nation ]

IOGC:

  • Environment Business Unit
    Indian Oil and Gas Canada
    100-9911 Chiila Blvd
    Tsuut’ina AB T3T 0E1

Important note: IOGC requires all submissions to include both a paper copy and an electronic copy. Emailed copies will not be accepted.

Electronic copies (e.g. PDF) must be an exact duplicate of the paper copy. Failure to meet this requirement will result in significant processing delays.

For more information

Manager, Lease Administration
Indian Oil and Gas Canada
100-9911 Chilla Blvd
Tsuut’ina AB T3T 0E1
Telephone: 403-292-5625

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