Taking Orphans

  • The OWA is given the authority to abandon and reclaim orphan wells but does not become the licensee of orphan wells.
  • This means that the orphan well license stays in the name of the defunct licensee, so the OWA does not have the ability to ‘sell’ orphan wells.
  • The AER can transfer orphan well licenses from the defunct licensee to a company that applies for a transfer.
  • This process is called a Regulator Directed Transfer or RDT.
  • See attached for process flow for an RDT.
Requirements for RDT
  • To initiate the RDT process, email the OWA at RDT@orphanwell.ca with the licenses that you wish to acquire. The OWA will then notify the AER and place its closure work on hold for up to 6 months while the RDT application process is underway. If the RDT application has not been made by this time, the license(s) will be placed back in the decommissioning queue without further notice to the applicant.
    • The AER will follow up with the applicant including sending the required RDT application documents.
  • See below for AER requirements for an RDT which includes, but is not limited to, the following:
    • RDT applicant company must be eligible to hold a licence. See the AER Directive 067, Applying for Approval to Hold EUB Licences, for further information.
    • RDT applicants must obtain mineral and surface rights to the well.
    • RDT applicants must be compliant with all AER regulations and meet RDT application requirements.
    • The AER may apply a $10,000 RDT fee for each well and facility license transferred at its discretion.
    • RDT applications must include requests for the associated pipeline licenses required to operate.
  • Please note that all RDT applications are to be made to the AER, not the OWA which is a separate organization.
  • The OWA requests applicants to notify us via email (RDT@orphanwell.ca) after submitting an RDT application to the AER, so that the OWA does not abandon the applicant’s well or pipelines of interest during the AER application process.
Further Information
  • Individual wells: please contact the AER Customer Contact Centre for records held by the AER 1-855-297-8311, 403-297-8311 or inquiries@aer.ca. (Note there is a fee associated with this AER service.)
  • The RDT process: please contact the AER Insolvency Team, Closure and Liability Branch at 403-297-3113 or Directive088Transfers@aer.ca
  • Crown mineral rights agreement status:
    • Obtain a land search via Alberta Energy’s Electronic Transfer System (ETS)
      ETS System
    • Alberta Energy also accepts Third Party Requests to review non-productive PNG rights under Information Letter 2004-14:

For more information, please see our RDT FAQ document.

Orphan Inventory