Guidelines for oil and gas

The Alberta government uses a conservation and reclamation program to reclaim land used for oil and gas development.


The Alberta government’s upstream oil and gas conservation and reclamation program aims to return sites to equivalent land capability. A reclaimed site should support the same uses as it did before it was disturbed.

The Alberta government develops policies and regulations that govern this conservation and reclamation.

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) regulates upstream oil and gas activities through their life cycle. This includes:

  • conservation
  • construction
  • operations
  • reclamation

The AER also administers the upstream oil and gas reclamation certification program.

Find out more about AER’s role in managing upstream oil and gas sites at: Alberta Energy Regulator.

Reclamation criteria

The AER uses certain criteria to assess whether sites have been reclaimed to equivalent land capability.

Reclamation criteria is available for 4 land-use types:

Use of Professional Judgement 

Qualified professionals can use their judgement to recommend if a site should pass or fail as directed in the Reclamation Criteria for Well Sites and Associated Facilities. A variance is submitted for approval to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) through OneStop.

The Government of Alberta endorses using the Petroleum Technology Alliance Committee’s report when preparing a weed variance application for approval from the AER:

Professional sign off

When applying for a reclamation certificate, a signed professional declaration must be included.

To find out more about sign-off requirements, including required competencies, see: Land conservation and reclamation – Professional sign off.

Additional guidance

Technical resources