Three new proposed oil sands developments have cleared an important early step in the regulatory process.
Government has approved the proposals for:
- The Blackpearl Resources Inc. Blackrod oil sands steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) development
- The Surmont Energy Ltd. Wildwood oil sands SAGD development
- The Husky Saleski oil sands development
Collectively these projects represent about $4 billion of potential investment into Alberta’s economy and about 95,000 barrels per day of production. The proposed developments will also fall under the new oil sands 100 megatonne greenhouse gas emissions limit, announced with Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan. These proposals combined equal about 2.5 megatonnes of GHG emissions. The limit is an incentive for innovation, encouraging lower carbon production, more efficient projects and cost-effective emissions reduction strategies.
The approval of these proposals, which are also referred to as “schemes,” follows a thorough review by the Alberta Energy Regulator and its recommendation to government to approve each proposal. Those reviews included multiple environmental assessments. There were also consultations with local Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities on the commercial projects, and with other affected stakeholders, during this time. The project proponents will now work with the regulator on specific licences and approvals, and will need to comply with all environmental legislation, targets and thresholds.
“Our government supports a growing and sustainable energy sector. Along with new pipelines, regulatory certainty is crucial to continued investment into our economy and I am proud to say we are advancing this certainty.”
“The emissions limit is the first of its kind set by an energy-producing jurisdiction. It positions Alberta as an environmental leader while allowing room for development. The limit was developed with industry leaders and we know they can rise to the challenge to innovate and work within the limit.”
The Oil Sands Advisory Group, made up of expert advisers with environmental, industry and Indigenous community perspectives, will make recommendations to government on how to implement the 100-megatonne limit for both existing and new projects.
The Blackrod oil sands project is located about 200 km southwest of Fort McMurray; the Wildwood project is 65 km south of Fort McMurray; and the Saleski project is 100 km to the west of Fort McMurray.
Final investment decisions on the projects are at the discretion of the companies.