(Alberta) AER Directive 060: Upstream Petroleum Industry Flaring, Incinerating, and Venting (upstream provisions)

Last updated: 3 May 2022

This directive sets forth standards for flaring, incinerating, and venting methane in Alberta at all upstream petroleum industry wells and facilities. These requirements also apply to pipeline installations that convey gas (e.g., compressor stations, line heaters) licensed by the AER in accordance with the Pipeline Act. With the exception of oil sands mining schemes and operations, Directive 060 applies to all schemes and operations approved under section 10 of the Oil Sands Conservation Act. These requirements address public safety concerns and environmental impacts from flaring, incinerating, or venting. Requirements in this directive are aligned to comply with Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives and Guidelines.

Requirements cover limits for non-routine flaring, incinerating, or venting; permits for temporary flaring/ incineration;  LDAR and fugitive gas management; notification; and reporting, recordkeeping. Most requirements went into effect 1 January 2020; vent gas limits for new components effective 1 January 2022; vent gas limits for existing components (pre-2022) effective 1 January 2023.

For gas pipelines, licensees must minimise venting, flaring, and incineration volumes. Licensees must document alternatives considered in order to eliminate or reduce flaring, incineration, or venting, how they were evaluated, and the outcome of the evaluation. They must also notify residents, schools, and the appropriate AER field centre of nonroutine flaring, incineration, or venting at licensed gas pipeline facilities if pipeline facility flaring, incineration, or venting exceeds four hours in duration or 30 000 m3.

The requirements apply to AER-regulated: 

  • upstream oil, gas and bitumen wells,
  • gathering lines
  • oil and gas facilities,
  • gas plants,
  • pipeline installations,
  • storage facilities, and
  • tank terminals (i.e., production and injection wells, batteries, and central processing facilities within thermal in-situ oil sands schemes)

The new requirements do not apply to:

  • AER-regulated facilities that are not related to oil, gas or bitumen production (such as coal, shallow water wells, brine wells, NEB regulated facilities, midstream meter stations, or midstream pipelines),
  • oil sands mining schemes,
  • processing plants for removing bitumen from oil sands at mines including upgraders,
  • refineries,
  • rail car loading facilities,
  • downstream distribution pipelines, or
  • downstream facilities.

In the directive, AER also committed to provide public access to production flaring, incineration, and venting data.  AER publishes an annual report, ST60B, on its website making this information available to licensees, operators, and approval holders. 

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