Seismic exploration – Overview

Applications for proposed seismic exploration are reviewed and approved under the appropriate legislation.

Exploration legislation

Alberta Environment and Protected Areas is responsible for all policy and legislation for exploration activities (geophysical or seismic surveys) in Alberta. While the Alberta Energy Regulator (the AER) regulates and approves the geophysical activities (as defined in Responsible Energy Development Act).

Mines and Minerals Act

Part 8 of the Mines and Minerals Act outlines regulations for exploration.

Exploration Regulation

Alberta Exploration Regulation (AR 284/2006) regulates companies engaging in geophysical or seismic exploration governed by the Mines and Minerals Act.

Legislation compliance

The AER:

  • receives and makes decisions on applications for proposed seismic exploration programs in Alberta under the legislation for all energy resource related exploration activities
  • oversees day-to-day operations
  • ensures compliance with the legislation and conducts inspections on all lands in Alberta

Exploration Directive

While the regulation describes what the geophysical industry “must do” in its operations, the Exploration Directive further clarifies the requirements. For more information see:

Exploration restricted areas

Certain lands in Alberta have restrictions on seismic operations. A brief description of these areas can be found at Exploration restricted areas for geophysical industries.

Regulation and enforcement

To ensure compliance with legislation, the AER conducts inspections on:

  • public land
  • private land
  • road allowances

For more information on compliance and enforcement measures please refer to the AER’s compliance assurance program.

Landowner assistance

The AER helps resolve exploration activity issues between the geophysical industry and:

  • landowners
  • counties
  • municipal districts
  • special areas
  • irrigation districts

Examples of landowner concerns that warrant an inspection include:

  • flowing or cratered shot holes
  • structural damage
  • surface damages
  • trespass (and related damage)
  • water wells

For more information:


Alberta Environment and Protected Areas
Lands Division, Lands Policy and Programs Branch
Public Land Policy Section
2nd  Floor, 9915 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T5K 2G8
Phone: 310-0000
Email: [email protected]

Alberta Energy Regulator
Attention: Geophysical Exploration Authorizations
Calgary (Head Office)
Suite 1000, 250 5th Street SW
Calgary, Alberta  T2P 0R4
Phone Inquiries: 780-427-2876
Toll Free: 1-855-297-8311
Emergency 24-hours response line: 1-800-222-6514
Email: [email protected]