Before they can turn a drill bit or drive a shovel into the ground, oil and gas companies need permission to use private land. This often means signing a private surface agreement (PSA) with the landowner or occupant, which gives consent to construct and operate energy developments on the property.
While the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) doesn’t broker these agreements, landowners may register them with our Private Surface Agreement Registry. Here are five things to know about PSAs and the AER’s registry.
- The 411 on PSAs. A PSA is a written, signed, and dated agreement between a company and a property’s owner or occupant. It can include any aspect of the company’s access to, or use of, the land.
- Get it in the registry. The AER maintains a registry where landowners can submit their PSAs. We review the agreements before responding with a confirmation letter; we also send a copy of the registered PSA to the company.
- 64 reasons to register. If the landowner believes the company is failing to live up to its end of the bargain, they can make a request under section 64 of the Responsible Energy Development Act. When a section 64 request is received, the AER will investigate the concerns and determine whether a company is complying with the terms or conditions of the PSA. If it isn’t, we will order the company to comply.
- Can’t we work this out? Before going the section 64 route, we encourage landowners to first contact the company. The AER also offers alternative dispute resolution services that can be engaged at any point before or during a section 64 request.
- It’s on the record. Documents submitted to the AER are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. This means that anyone may ask for a copy of the registered PSA.
Want to drill deeper into PSAs or the registry? Check out the EnerFAQs on this topic.
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