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
  • Effective Dec 15, 2021 – To initiate the RDT process, a written submission must be made to the AER at Directive088Transfers@aer.ca. Please note that the OWA will not place any closure work on hold until the AER confirms a formal written request has been received.
    • Requests to put OWA work on hold for RDT’s received prior to Dec 15, 2021 will be grandfathered but verified by OWA personnel.
  • 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