Opportunities & Challenges in Conventional Fields

Alberta boasts more than 100 years of oil and gas exploration and production history. Our oil and gas related projects are driven by the Alberta Energy Regulator, industry, and government needs. Currently we have one major project in this area that focuses on using geoscience to evaluate opportunities and risks from commingled well abandonment.


Geoscience for Evaluating Commingled Well Abandonment

A hydrocarbon well can be producing from multiple oil and gas pools. These wells can have several vertically separated zones, each producing from a specific pool. This type of hydrocarbon production is known as commingled production. Commingled abandonment occurs when oil and gas zones that produce from multiple pools through a single wellbore are abandoned together. We are evaluating where in the province commingled abandonment can be done while maintaining groundwater protection and resource conservation. We are currently focused on evaluating any potential impacts from allowing commingled abandonment of shallow gas wells and coalbed methane resources in central Alberta. This project aims to make recommendations on whether widespread variances from well abandonment requirements can be approved in Development Entity 1/1A and still satisfy the Alberta Energy Regulator’s environmental outcomes.

Early in 2021, the Alberta Energy Regulator updated their Directive 020: Well Abandonment. The updates allow

  • routine commingled abandonment in southeastern Alberta, and
  • operators to abandon wells in pre-approved pools enabling them to plan abandonment work more efficiently and reduce the review and administrative process for the Alberta Energy Regulator.

These regulatory changes are based on geoscience and is available in our previous work on commingled abandonment.

Learn More

Previous Work on Commingled Abandonment

Alberta Energy Regulator's Commingling Orders

Alberta Energy Regulator's Directive 020: Well Abandonment