Photo of a technician collecting water run-off for testing. The Balzac plant is in the background.
A technician collects water run-off for testing.

Regulatory Overview

The oil and gas industry is highly regulated, with multiple agencies historically responsible for various aspects of the life cycle of operations. With the Responsible Energy Development Act (2012), the full life cycle of oil and gas facilities in Alberta transitioned to being regulated by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), whose previous names included the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) and the Energy & Utilities Board (EUB).

The Balzac Gas Plant is governed by an Approval issued under the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA). The previous Operating Approval has been replaced by an Approval for Reclamation of the facility (Approval Number 155-03-11), issued May 24, 2016.

Some conditions of this current approval include the requirements for:

  • An annual groundwater monitoring program complete with reporting requirements
  • Domestic wastewater management
  • Management of Industrial Runoff and Industrial Wastewater and annual reporting requirements
  • Decommissioning, Remediation and Land Reclamation components
  • Annual environmental summary report

The Approval also includes a requirement for a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) to be submitted to the AER by August 31, 2017, followed by review of the plan by the AER.

Nexen has also been proceeding with shoreline erosion protection projects due to elevated water levels in the adjacent McDonald Lake. These projects have required additional Approvals / Authorizations under the Water Act and the Public Lands Act.